Bible Reading Cities: Top Ten (in the USA)

From Jeremy Weber:

Where’s Grand Rapids? Where’s Wheaton?

The American Bible Society has partnered with The Barna Group to identify America’s most “Bible-minded” cities, based on “highest combined levels of regular Bible reading and belief in the Bible’s accuracy.”

Their No. 1 pick? Knoxville, Tennessee.

The complete Top 10:

#10. Charleston, W.Va

#9. Huntsville, Ala.

#8. Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va.

#7. Charlotte, N.C.

#6. Springfield, Mo.

#5. Jackson, Miss.

#4. Birmingham, Ala.

#3. Chattanooga, Tenn.

#2. Shreveport, La.

#1. Knoxville, Tenn.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • RJS

    Barna combined Grand Rapids with Kalamazoo and Battle Creek – which is rather bizarre. Kalamazoo and Battle Creek are very different culturally from Grand Rapids in my experience.

    The whole list is rather interesting but not really surprising.

  • Erik

    I was surprised to see my city, Cedar Rapids, IA, finish in the bottom ten.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    It is based on US census MSA (metropolitan statistical areas). I think he got his predetermined result when he chose the word ‘accurate’ to describe the view of scripture that is bible believing. Barna feels more like propaganda than research these days.

  • http://antiitchmeditation.wordpress.com jeff weddle

    “Barna feels more like propaganda than research these days.”
    right on, Adam

  • James Petticrew

    Is there any correlation between these cities and lower rates of murder, crime, poverty etc ? In other words is there any research to show that higher rates of bible reading impacts how people behave?

  • Brandon Bishop

    James,
    That was my exact thoughts. How has the reading transformed those cities? That would be the more interesting study…

  • Dan

    I have lost overall trust in most of surveys like this. When repeating the surveys at local levels and seeing very contrasting results on some of them. It feels like they become so generalized that they lose accuracy. But do make nice headlines. I wish there were academic studies done to test whether surveys like this hold true when really studied or not. But I lost confidence for usage in day to day ministry practice. I always like reading them though, as the headlines certainly are always spicy sounding. And do like glimpsing into the questions being asked.

  • http://www.grizmo.biz david Reeves

    any you wonder why we have such great weather here in Knoxville?

  • Doc Mike

    Wow, David! For a minute there you sounded just like Pat Robertson!

    Do it again.

  • SuperStar

    Well, there’s two things that states that have colleges in the SEC really love:

    1. Their football
    2. Their Bible

  • Alan K

    It’s not for nothing it’s called the “Bible belt.”

  • Scott Gay

    I’ll take the challenge of comparing the Bible reading to behavior…….Kansas State University published maps of the seven deadly sins in every county of the USA. The Bible belt was high in the seven deadly sins just as it was in this research in Bible reading.

  • Sarah

    I was going to say that several of these cities represent some of the highest levels of injustice in our country. I don’t know if it is good to show them as the most “Biblical”. A gentleman named Bryan Stevenson has a great TED talk on this. I recently heard him speak and was appalled to hear that Alabama had a vote in the most recent election to remove the language banning children of different races from attending school together from the state constitution…it was defeated 60% to 40%….in 2012….

  • Steve Sherwood

    I’m not at all down on all the stuff the Barna Group produces. For example, I think You Lost Me by David Kinnaman reads A LOT like the college kids I work with. That said, I think the narrow wording around “biblical accuracy” skewed things toward a fundamentalist result.

  • aj

    Barna Group is often hired by specific groups or companies to find out specific answers. This research was for such a purpose. The original reports are for sale. So yes this is skewed as is most polls. The article I read from Barna even called the target areas ‘markets’. This was probably more about where ABS will advertise its products than where great actions of faith are occurring.


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