(WTVC)—The American Bible Society says Chattanooga has re-taken the No. 1 spot in a newly released study ranking the nation's most Bible-minded cities.
After ranking No. 1 in 2014, Chattanooga lost its lead to Birmingham, Alabama, in 2015 but reclaimed the title this year, according to the A.B.S.
The organization says Chattanoogans expressed a strong belief in the Bible's accuracy and reported high levels of regular Bible reading.
Two other Tennessee areas, Tri-Cities (5) and Knoxville (8), ranked in the top 10 as well, making it the state with the most high-ranking cities.
American Bible Society's third-annual study of America's Most Bible-Minded Cities found that cities in the South, the Bible Belt, continue to perform strongly in Bible friendliness. Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the 2015 top city, ranked second this year, followed by Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia, and Shreveport, Louisiana. Lexington, Kentucky, came up from No. 15 last year to claim the No. 10 spot, while Springfield, Missouri, dropped out of the top ten for the first time. Jackson, Mississippi, dropped from seventh to fifteenth.
To be considered Bible-minded, respondents must state they read the Bible in the past seven days and they believe strongly in the accuracy of the Bible. Nationally, only 25 percent of the population was considered Bible-minded.
"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."
Top 10 Most Bible-Minded Cities*
- Chattanooga, Tenn. (2)
- Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Ala. (1)
- Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va. (4)
- Shreveport, La. (5)
- Tri-Cities, Tenn. (3)
- Charlotte, N.C. (8)
- Little Rock/Pine Bluff, Ark. (10)
- Knoxville, Tenn. (11)
- Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, S.C. / Asheville, N.C. (9)
- Lexington, Ky. (15)
*parentheses indicate previous year's ranking
- 2016 Bible-Minded Cities • Barna Group
- The Belt Is Still Buckled: America's 100 Most Bible-Minded Cities of 2016 • Christianity Today
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- The Unifying Message of the Bible • BPB (Charles Bing)
- Christ's High View of Scripture • SpiritAndTruth.org (Andy Woods)