The Bibles for the presidential inauguration are carried out on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2017. (Win McNamee/Pool photo via AP)

Trump inauguration Bible heads to museum

President Trump, left, takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, right, with Trump's wife, Melania, and children Donald, Barron, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany at his side during inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2017. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

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(RNS) — One of the two Bibles Donald Trump used to take the oath of office is joining others used by American presidents at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

The Revised Standard Version edition Bible given to the future 45th president of the United States by his mother when he was a child is the same Bible he used when he attended First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y.

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In January 2017, President-elect Trump showed the hard-bound Bible to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network and described an inscription Trump said was made by his mother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, who died in 2000.

"It's amazing and all written out sort of like so that I always know that it is mine," Trump said, showing a white flyleaf inscribed with handwritten cursive. "But it is special and I open that and I look at it a lot."

The Bible also has the Trump name etched on the front cover. Upon his graduation from Sunday school — in 1955 at age 9 — it was signed by his pastor and Sunday school teachers.

At his inauguration, the president also took the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible, which was also used by President Obama at his 2009 inauguration.

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The Revised Standard Version was a new version of the Bible when Trump was a child. Its New Testament was published in 1946, the year of Trump's birth, and it was published in full in 1952. It was the standard Bible used in most mainline Protestant churches through the 1970s and into the 1980s.

The Trump Bible joins other presidential Bibles on display on the second floor of the Museum of the Bible, a private institution that opened on the Washington Mall in November. The collection includes Bibles from Presidents George W. Bush, Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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“We are honored to add this piece of our nation’s history to our growing exhibit of presidential Bibles,” Museum of the Bible President Cary Summers said in a statement.


  1. I’d prefer that they all were burned for use in Ash Wednesday services.I actually am quite bothered by the apparent veneration of the Holy Bible based on ownership.

  2. I’ve always (even 12 years ago this morning) wondered, What is BIBLIOLATRY?

    THIS is it!

    And that, too – OMG & Jesus wept! – as practised by my beloved people of faith.

  3. Biblical idolatry meets worship of the Apricot Wonder. Hooray for the fundagelicals!  

  4. So, Donald donated his Bible to a museum. I don’t think he’ll miss it.

  5. I doubt he read it often enough to miss it…and if it was really important to him, he would probably keep it and read it on a regular basis.

  6. That bible would be more at home at a “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” museum.

  7. That copy seems to be in pretty good shape for as old as it’s claimed to be. I guess it didn’t get much use.

  8. The RSV was indeed the preferred version of the mainline Protestantism of Trump’s childhood. But you leave out of the story that it was condemned by the predecessors of the evangelical movement that became Trump’s base. One of the main sticking points, seen as a litmus test, was the RSV’s translation of “almah” in Isaiah 7:14, used as the basis for Matthew 1:23’s proof text, as “young woman” rather than “virgin.” This was seen as a sign of “Jewish influence” on the translation and some pastors burned the RSV. Today’s RSV has young woman in the text and virgin in a footnote; the New International Version, the go-to for many modern evangelicals, has it the reverse.

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