You’ll never guess which U.S. cities are most ‘Bible-minded’

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(Photo credit: David Tang -

(Photo credit: David Tang -

The Bible has long been the most printed, most distributed, most widely read and bestselling book in North America. (Eat your heart out, Veronica Roth.) A new study by the American Bible Society shows which cities are most “Bible-minded” in 2015, and the list contains a few surprises.

New York City, a city becoming known for its increasingly robust Christian community, fell into the bottom 10 for the first time in the study’s three year history. Though Knoxville, Tennessee topped the list in 2013, the small city dropped out of the top 10 this year. Dallas, Texas–rife with mega-churches and Christian institutions–did not make it into the top 25 this year. And pastors looking for a Biblically literate flock might want to head to Birmingham, Alabama; the city took first place.

Here are a list of the study’s top 10 most Bible-minded cities:

  1. Birmingham, Alabama 
  2. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  3. Tri-Cities, Tennessee
  4. Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia
  5. Shreveport, Louisiana
  6. Springfield, Missouri
  7. Jackson, Mississippi
  8. Charlotte, North Carolina
  9. Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina/ Asheville
  10. Little Rock, Arkansas

View the complete list here

Despite the surprises, the study included some predictable findings that reinforce what one might assume to be true. The Bible belt continues to live up to its nickname; almost all of the top 25 cities are located in the Southwest or Southeast. Also, smaller cities generally fared better than larger ones. This is consistent with the fact that larger cities tend to be more liberal, politically and religiously.

According to the study, “Bible mindedness” is determined by residents’ Bible reading habits and beliefs about the Bible. Those who have read the Good Book in the past seven days and strongly believed in the Bible’s accuracy were considered most Bible-minded. Only 27 percent of the overall population fell into this category.

“This study provides us with a great starting point to understand where people are interacting with Scripture and what their views are of the Bible,” said Andrew Hood, managing director of communications at American Bible Society.

The survey was collected by Barna Group from a sample of 62,896 adults and was conducted over a 10-year period, ending in August 2014.

"Most and Least Bible-Minded Cities" for 2015 - (Photo courtesy of American Bible Society and Barna Group)

“Most and Least Bible-Minded Cities” for 2015 – (Photo courtesy of American Bible Society and Barna Group)

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  • Karla

    They must be skipping over the tough parts of the Bible because the Bible
    says in Ephesians 5:18 don’t get drunk! 1 Corinthians 6:10 says that all
    drunkards go to hell yet people get drunk like it’s no big deal. The wine
    that Jesus made was diluted and the Bible also says don’t get drunk with
    strong wine so people who get drunk with wine are also wrong/go to hell.
    People today seem to forget that Jesus said many will say Me Lord,Lord
    and not enter heaven so mean/jealous people with inferiority complexes
    that still get drunk,covet,gossip,gamble,sleep around/have premarital sex
    need to stop/make a change! 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 lists many sins along
    with homosexuals. Luke 13 says Repent or perish! We all must Repent!

  • Ken

    So, a person that has once been convicted of a burglary cannot testify against a person they saw rob a bank?

    Seems your judgmentalism is a bit askew.

    Rather, it is that an honest person that cannot justify their own sins even after repenting of them (a common occurrence in Christian life) is also doing well not to justify those sins that others commit and demand to be celebrated.

    So much for being “affirming” huh?

  • Karla

    Ken-The Bible says there are none good…not even one so there are
    no good people and there is no such thing as a “good person” so all
    we can do is humble ourselves and Repent. Bad mouthin religion has
    backfired and many people today are now spiritual instead of Biblical.
    If you say you love Jesus then don’t follow the Bible/religion no Truth is
    in you! It’s not enough to believe in Jesus. We all must Repent/follow Him!

  • “the only cure for homosexuals is that they be put to death.”
    – Pastor Robbie Gallaty
    Tennessee megachurch
    Sept. 4, 2014

    It is no wonder that these geographical areas also have the worst Science scores in the country. They are learnin’ Creationist garbage along with their hate speech.

    Religion belongs in the dark ages.

  • Thecla

    What is so great about the Bible? I read it all with an open mind, hoping–and expecting–to find something that would speak to me or reveal truths. I found nothing but a collection of very boring, crude literature. Yes you can fiddle it and massage it, but read the Bible raw and it is garbage. You could extract the same edifying lessons from _Anna Karenina_ or the telephone book if you play with it in the way people play with the Bible.

    I’m a Christian: I believe the Creed and love the Church. But the Bible is a stumbling block. I simply cannot understand what anyone sees in it.

  • Stephen Lewis

    As a Jewish Christian (not “Messianic Jew” God forbid..) I hope to live to see the day when most all intelligent Christians realize the Bible cannot be used for spiritual authority as is. Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, Israeli archeologist and historian, have proven that the people who wrote the Bible, Hebrews, cobbled together religious stories and gods from several different sources and retold them, invented new ones, such as “Moses and the Exodus” to cover up the true history of Canaanite Israelites joined with the Hyksos invaders being kicked out of Egypt. Their humiliation was turned around with the Moses story that now billions of ignorant believers believe hook, line and sinker. Oh, no doubt the Bible is packed with good spiritual information but it is also packed with some god-awful religious views much along the lines of present day Muhammad idol worshipers acting out Muhammad’s phony and quite violent “religion of peace”, the core ideas stolen from Hebrews who stole their core ideas from more ancient pagan sources. In any event, the Bible does show the Celestial Torah code running through most all the major characters and events. But without knowing the Celestial Torah astro-theological code Abrahamic believers are stuck with whatever their priests tell them is what Scriptures mean. And history records how priests tell believers their Wizard of Oz mumbo-jumbo to keep themselves in comfy no physical work jobs and relative high social position.

  • Fran

    I’m in Las Vegas, the Sin City of the world, and we are not even on the list! lol However, we do have a lot of caring “locals” such as me,

  • Fran


    Yes, FALSE religion which teaches lies about God, his loving, compassionate and just personality and loving purposes for us humans, his earthly creation and children, which you have evidently been subjected to, SHOULD be done away with, and God will see that it is accomplished. That should make you feel better!!!

  • Fran,

    False religion?
    The Pastor is following Jesus’ commands exactly:

    “Follow the laws of Moses (including stonings)….Not one iota of the law shall pass away” – Jesus

    Jesus endorsed and validated all of the stoning laws in Leviticus.

    You cannot call Jesus the true religion if it is somehow ‘false’ to follow Jesus’ commands!

  • Karla

    Stephen Lewis- Jesus is the Messiah! Sid Roth is a Messianic Jew and so
    is Jonathan Cahn so you should check them out. Sid Roth has a tv show.
    The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel is a good book. Read Psalm 22:16-18
    and also Isaiah 53:3-7 which are both very specific about Jesus. Bible is
    very clear that Jesus is the Messiah. The antichrist is going to come before
    the real Jesus and will set up a peace treaty to fool people because the
    devil poses as an angel of light. Jesus is the Messiah/only way to heaven!

  • Karla

    Stephen Lewis-Jesus is part of the Trinity/Godhead. The birth of Jesus
    was a miracle not a creation. In Revelation 1:17-18 Jesus says I Am
    the First and the Last. If you claim to be Christian you have to believe
    that Jesus is the Messiah/the only way to heaven and that He/Jesus
    was not created. Jesus said before Abraham I Am which shows that
    He was not created. I Am is what God said when speaking to Moses
    so that shows Jesus is God as part of the Godhead which is the one
    God with the three parts. He/Jesus is co-eternal with God/Holy Spirit.
    Jesus said I and the Father are one. It’s one God with the three parts.
    While Jesus was on earth He said the Father was greater only cause
    He was one with the will of the Trinity/Godhead and He had to submit
    to that will to show He is God/to fulfill all Bible prophecy God predicted
    but now He/Jesus is back in heaven He is part of the Trinity/Godhead.

  • Karla

    Jesus was also called Emmanuel which means God with us. That
    also shows that Jesus was/is God and co-eternal/part of the Trinity.

  • Jack

    Stephen, what on earth (no pun) is the “Celestial Torah?”

    As for biblical archeology, I’d prefer the giants of the 20th century like Albright to the midgets of the 21st century who are repeating the same errors as the higher critics of the late 19th century. They disregard normal historical methodology, replacing it with wild speculation and turning burden of proof on its head…….especially in the silly premise that it’s absence of corroboration rather than presence of material contradiction that refutes a text.

    In other words, I prefer archeologists to act like archeologists, not radical skeptics disguised as archeologists.

  • Billysees

    @ A. Max

    “Religion belongs in the dark ages.”

    Dark religious understanding and pastors like the one you mentioned belong in the ‘dark ages’.

    “It is no wonder that these geographical areas also have the worst Science scores in the country…”

    How true.

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