The most Bible-minded cities in America
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I thought my city would make the top ten list of the most Bible-minded cities. Someone once told me that Texas was the buckle of the Bible belt. According to the new Barna study, I’m not even sure Texas is on the leather of that belt. Dallas/Fort Worth came in twenty-eighth on the list of America’s top 100 Bible-minded cities. I guess that is still pretty good considering the size of our population.

The south is definitely the most Bible-minded region of our country. The top ten cities were all located south of the Mason Dixon line. What is a Bible-minded city?  Barna answered the question, saying:

Each year, in partnership with American Bible Society, Barna ranks the nation’s top
media markets based on their level of Bible engagement. Individuals who report reading
the Bible in a typical week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles
it teaches are considered to be Bible-minded. 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.

What city in America was listed as the most Bible-minded? (Drum-roll please). . . Chattanooga, Tennessee. Barna reported that fifty-two percent of Chattanooga’s citizens were Bible-minded. Apparently several more became Bible-minded this past year when Birmingham metropolitan area was awarded the number one slot in 2015. Chattanooga worked to reclaim the number one spot this year dropping Birmingham to the number two position with only fifty-one percent. We will see what happens in 2017!

Third, fourth, and fifth places went to Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia (48%), Shreveport, Louisiana (47%), and Tri-Cities, Tennessee (47%). The other top-ten cities were Charlotte, North Carolina (46%), Little Rock/Pine Bluff, Arkansas (46%), Knoxville, Tennessee (45%), the Greenville, South Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina, area (44%) and Lexington, Kentucky (44%).

As I mentioned before, I had to look for awhile to locate a city in Texas. The good news is that the Dallas/Fort Worth area came in at thirty-five percent, edging out Waco who had a mere thirty-four percent (The Baylor grads are probably shocked to hear this!) And . . . because I know you are wondering, these are the cities that Barna reported were the “least” Bible-minded:

The bottom five cities are primarily in the Northeast or on the East Coast, with the exception of one in the Midwest. The least Bible-minded city in 2016—Albany/Schenectady/Troy, New York—moved up one spot from last year to claim the crown, with only ten percent of residents qualifying as Bible-minded. Boston, Massachusetts (11%), moved from third to second place while Providence, Rhode Island (12%)—the least Bible-minded city in 2015—dropped two spots to third place. The only Midwest city to make the top five was Cedar Rapids, Iowa (13%), followed by Buffalo, New York (13%), to round out the list. Other cities in the bottom ten include Las Vegas, Nevada (14%), the San Francisco, California, area (15%), Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut (16%), Phoenix/Prescott, Arizona (16%), and Salt Lake City, Utah (17%).

The study was interesting, but thought-provoking. According to Barna, half of the people living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Birmingham, Alabama, are Bible-minded. It is less than half in my own city. If you vacation in San Francisco or Phoenix, very few of the people you pass will be concerned with what the Bible says or means to their lives.

Where did your city fall on the list? How many people will you see today who don’t believe the Bible is relevant to their lives? One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 119. I turned to that Psalm to choose a verse to include in my blog post, and found myself reading the entire psalm. I couldn’t choose just a verse or two when all were so significant. There is a tradition that says King David wrote Psalm 119 to teach his young son, Solomon, the alphabet, the foundation for his education. He also wanted to teach him the most important foundation for his spiritual life as well.

Psalm 119 is wonderful reminder of the blessings received when we are Bible-minded Christians. The Barna study is a reminder that many people in our own cities live without those blessings. Whatever city you live in, at least half of your fellow citizens need someone to care about the sanctity of their souls. Who will you have the chance to share God’s word with today, and the days after that? God’s word has been “a lamp to my feet” and “a light to my path.” It’s time to share that light with people who live in the darkness. Maybe your city can make Barna’s “Top-Ten List” next year!

Join us at and chime in on this week’s discussion question: When have you chosen to influence your child’s choice when you truly wanted to control it instead?

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