(Sacramento Bee) In their quest to read the Bible cover to cover in three months’ time, 84 people at St. John’s Lutheran Church in midtown Sacramento have pored over about a quarter of the Bible so far. It’s been an eye-opener: The violence – the sheer level of bloodshed in the Old Testament – has taken many of them by surprise.

“Your Sunday school teachers didn’t tell you about that,” associate pastor Leslie Welton said to a recent class of almost two dozen people.

They were gathered in a church meeting room at noon on a bright spring Friday for one of the church’s weekly “Bible in 90 Days” sessions. The classes, which began in mid-March, have offered the group fresh perspective on the Scriptures during Lent, the traditional 40-day period of reflection and sacrifice leading up to the celebration of Easter. The Friday classes skew older, with a lot of retirees in the group, but program participants range in age from 11 to 98. Another class has been meeting on Sunday evenings.

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