When President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes the oath of workplace on Wednesday, he could also be accompanied by a familial artifact that has adopted him all through his 50-year political profession: a hefty Bible, accented with a Celtic cross, that has been in his household since 1893.

Whereas this chance has but to be confirmed by Mr. Biden’s inaugural committee, the Bible has been a staple at Mr. Biden’s previous swearing-in ceremonies as a U.S. senator and as vp. His son Beau Biden additionally used it when he was sworn in because the Delaware legal professional normal.

The Bible {that a} president-elect chooses to make use of for the swearing-in ceremony typically relays a symbolic message to the American public, stated Seth A. Perry, an affiliate professor of faith at Princeton College.

“It’s tough to think about the ritual of the inauguration taking place with out that e book at this level,” Professor Perry stated. “It’s a part of the surroundings. It’s a part of the factor that offers the second the authority that it has.”

Throughout his 1789 inauguration in New York, George Washington used a Bible from St. John’s Masonic Lodge No. 1. The Bible is alleged to have been retrieved after attendees seen one was not readily available at Federal Corridor, the place Washington was making ready to take the oath of workplace, based on Claire Jerry, a curator of political historical past on the Nationwide Museum of American Historical past.

“Having sacred imagery related to the taking of a covenant is pretty constant and emphasizes that concept that we, who’re witnessing the taking of the oath, and the person who’s taking the oath are getting into into a really profound relationship with one another,” she stated.

Washington’s Bible has been used within the inaugurations of 4 different presidents: Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George Bush.

In 2017, Mr. Trump used one Bible that had been given to him by his mom when he was a boy and one other utilized by Abraham Lincoln for his inauguration in 1861, simply earlier than the beginning of the Civil Conflict. Barack Obama additionally used the Lincoln Bible when taking the oath of workplace, although in 2013, for his second inauguration, he supplemented it with a Bible given to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1954.