President Obama will use two Bibles at his inauguration swearing-in ceremony on January 21st–the Lincoln Bible, held at the Library of Congress, which the 16th President used at his 1861 inauguration swearing-in. President Obama used the Lincoln Bible at his 2008 swearing- in as well. In addition to the Lincoln Bible, the President will also use the "travelling" Bible of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Washington Post notes:
"President Obama is honored to use these Bibles at the swearing-in ceremonies," said Steve Kerrigan, president and CEO of the inaugural committee. "On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we've made as a nation."
Asked during the "fiscal cliff" negotiations if it was his "Lincoln moment" to work out a compromise, Mr. Obama said he doesn't compare himself to Lincoln. But there are numerous examples during his presidency of Mr. Obama evoking imagery of Lincoln.
Religion News Service, in an article written by David Jackson of USA Today adds that the son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is happy that the President will use his father's Bible:
In a statement, Martin Luther King III said he is proud that his father’s Bible will be a part of Obama’s inaugural, “and I hope that our great nation uses the moment to reflect on the enormous responsibility we have to serve our neighbors and communities.”
King added: “Thousands of Americans joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the National Mall in the fight for equality and justice 50 years ago, and I am excited that my father’s legacy will be honored as thousands more join President Obama to begin his second term.”
President Obama will be using a third Bible at his official swearing in on January 20. That ceremony will be held in private as it is on Sunday, when public institutions are closed. The Bible he will use for the private ceremony is one belonging to First Lady Michelle Obama's family, the Robinson Bible, used by her mother, and a gift to her mother from her father in 1958. Mrs. Robinson was the first African American store manager of a Moody's Bible Institute bookstore. She is said to have read her Bible regularly.
Vice President Biden will be sworn in using his family's Bible. The Biden family Bible has a Celtic cross on the front and is five inches thick, and has been in the Biden family since 1893. He used it every time he was sworn in as senator according to the inaugural committee.