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American Bible Society Reveals 'Most Bible-Minded City' in U.S.

( [email protected] ) Jun 26, 2017 01:37 PM EDT
June 26, 2017: The American Bible Society has revealed the "most Bible-minded city" in the United States.
Chattanooga, Tennessee has been hailed the "most Bible-minded city in the U.S." for the second year in a row. Shutterstock

For the second year in a row, Chattanooga, Tennessee has been named the "most Bible-minded city" in the United States.

That's according to the Barna Group's annual "Bible Minded Cities" report, which explored the faith profile of 131 cities to identify the top 10 most Bible-minded cities as well as the least Bible-minded cities in 2017.

"Each year, Barna and American Bible Society rank the nation's top media markets based on their level of Bible engagement," reads the report. "Individuals considered to be Bible-minded are those who report reading the Bible in the past week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches. This definition captures action and attitude-those who both engage and esteem the Christian scriptures. The rankings thus reflect an overall openness or resistance to the Bible in various U.S. cities."

Based on the results, the group found that 50 percent of the population of Chattanooga is Bible-minded.

Three other southern cities - Birmingham, Anniston and Tuscaloosa in Alabama - have taken the second spot, with 49 percent, while Roanoke and Lynchburg in Virginia are the third most Bible-minded with 48 percent.

The Tri-Cities area in Tennessee took fourth place with 48 percent, while Shreveport in Louisiana (47 percent) has taken fifth place.

While the most "Bible-minded cities" are found in the south, the least Bible-minded cities in America are predominantly in the north, according to the study.

Albany / Schenectady / Troy, NY (10%) is the least Bible-minded city in America-for the second year in a row -- and the New England area takes second and third positions, with Boston, MA / Manchester, NH (11%) as the runner-up, and Providence, RI / New Bedford, MA (12%), a previous least Bible-minded city in America (2013, 2014, 2015), close behind.

The study, sponsored by American Bible Society, found that nationally, only 25 percent of the population is considered Bible-minded.

Chattanooga's ranking isn't altogether surprising, as 8 in 10 the city's 173,000-plus residents identify as Christian and more than half of those as Evangelical. Additionally, the city is home to three megachurches and several religiously affiliated academic institutions, according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

A previous study conducted by Barna found that Chattanooga is also the "most churchgoing city in the U.S.", with 59 percent of Chattanoogans attending church services at least once a week, compared to 38 percent nationwide, according to the Times Free Press.

"Chattanooga certainly has a lot of people that are Biblically minded, and there are a number of churches in this city, and that bleeds into our culture and everyday life," Nathan Grubbs, Director of Youth Ministries at Brainerd Presbyterian Church, told The Gospel Herald last year. "Christianity is an undercurrent that runs through everything we do in Chattanooga."

He added, "I would say that does make it a little bit harder to minister sometimes; people may be Biblically-minded but not necessarily Gospel-changed. There's a lot of knowledge...But from the church's perspective, people are what Matt Chandler calls 'inoculated to the Gospel' -- you have so much knowledge, but the Gospel hasn't actually changed you."

Tags : Bible, Biblical literacy, biblical worldview, Chattanooga, Tennessee, American Bible Association, church