President Barack Obama has relied on quotes from scripture to help comfort victims' families after several mass shootings during his presidency. In a speech at a Colorado hospital after a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora earlier this year, Obama quoted the Book of Revelation as he spoke to the families of the 12 who had died. In a memorial service in Tucson, Ariz., after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 other people were shot, six of whom did not survive, Obama quoted the Book of Psalms and the Book of Job.
These passages are considered "visionary passages," according to biblical scholar Greg Carey, and they are also fairly common.
This wasn't the case when Obama quoted scripture Sunday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in a speech the White House says the president wrote himself.
"Do not lose heart," Obama told families grieving over the loss of 20 children and six adults, as well as the shooter. "Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed day by day."
The quote is a passage from 2 Corinthians, a book from which Obama pulled heavily from on Sunday. Carey says passages from this book are not often used.
"This passage is also different from the others [in that] it involves not just hope, but determination and persistence through adversity," says Carey, who is a professor of the New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. "Given that Obama was hinting that he would make some sort of policy action [on guns], I wonder if that's why determination was provided."
In a press conference Friday, Obama said the country needed to "take meaningful action" to prevent mass shootings in the future. On Monday, according to the Washington Post, he began calling on cabinet members to come up with proposals to reduce gun violence.
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12/19/12: This article incorrectly identified 2 Corinthians as a Bible chapter. It is a Bible book.