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American Bible Society Announces Top Ten Most Bible-Minded Cities in the Country

  • Veronica Neffinger

    Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the…

  • Updated Jan 21, 2016

The American Bible Society recently announced the Barna Group’s findings on which American cities are the most Bible-minded, and Chattanooga, Tennessee topped the list. 

According to American Bible Society’s report, a Tennessee city has topped the list for the past three of four years. Tennessee is also the only state with three cities in the list’s top 10. 

The study found that Southern cities, particularly those in the Bible Belt, continue to be the country’s most Bible-minded. Following Chattanooga, Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama came in second, with Lynchburg/Roanoke, Virginia coming in third.

The cities are ranked on their Bible-mindedness based on data gathered by Barna Group. Researchers analyzed survey respondents’ answers to questions on their Bible-reading habits and beliefs regarding the Bible. The study specifically looked at whether a survey participant had read the Bible in the past week and if he or she believed strongly in the Bible’s accuracy.

“We’ve seen the same five cities dominate the top five spots consistently,” said Andrew Hood, managing director of communications at American Bible Society. “We continually seek opportunities to support local churches across America by equipping leaders to help people encounter the life-changing message of the Bible. We commend local pastors who encourage congregants to read the Bible regularly.” 

The entire list of Bible-minded cities includes 100 cities. 

Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English at Liberty University, a large Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia, shared her experience as a transplant from a different part of the country to the number three Bible-minded city:

“Moving to Lynchburg from the more secularized Northeast, I found the difference in the culture quite remarkable, even disorienting at times. Biblical Christianity permeates everything to the point of, sometimes, simply being assumed. Such a far reach of biblical thinking has many positive effects on communities and individuals, but the dangers inherent in assuming a faith rather than really owning it can be subtle and run deep, too.”

Another English professor at Liberty University and the Vice Provost of the school, Dr. Emily Heady, also shared about her experience living in Lynchburg:

“In some ways, when I moved to Lynchburg I felt I’d stepped back in time 25 years—to the conservative small town where I grew up, where the question was where, not if, you went to church and where the line between basic human decency and Christianity was hard to draw.  It’s a wonderful place to live and raise children because of that.”

Heady also added a word of caution to Bible-minded cities.

“At the same time,” says Heady, “as the cultural swerve towards relativism and identity politics picks up speed, and as ideas like ‘basic human decency’ no longer have universal definitions, Bible-minded towns like Lynchburg will have to figure out how to articulate their own values in ways that make sense to those who don’t share them.”

American Bible Society’s list of the top ten Bible-minded cities is as follows:

  1. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  2. Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  3. Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia
  4. Shreveport, Louisiana
  5. Tri-Cities, Tennessee
  6. Charlotte, North Carolina
  7. Little Rock/PIne Bluff/Arkansas
  8. Knoxville, Tennessee
  9. Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, South Carolina / Asheville, North Carolina
  10. Lexington, Kentucky

To see the full list of Bible-minded cities, click here.

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Publication date: January 21, 2016