According to the American Bible Society, Dallas is the most Bible-minded city in Texas. Dallas-Fort Worth ranked No. 22 overall in the list, which measured national Bible reading habits by asking more than 45,000 Americans if they'd read the Bible in the past week and if they "strongly believed" in its accuracy.
The top spot went to Chattanooga, Tennessee, with Birmingham, Alabama, and Roanoke, Virginia, rounding out the top three. Ironically, the religiously named town of Providence, Rhode Island, ranked dead last at No. 100.
Of the top 25 cities, Dallas was one of only three with a population greater than 1 million households, leading the American Bible Society to declare an inverse relationship between population size and Bible friendliness.
For the second year, all of the top five cities were in the South or Midwest, while cities in the East Coast continued to rank among the least Bible-minded. Other Texas cities on the list include San Antonio (No. 34), Houston (No. 41), Waco (No. 43) and Austin (No. 48).
Robert Jeffress, pastor of megachurch First Baptist Dallas, says he's surprised that Dallas doesn't rank higher nationally for biblical engagement. "It's been said that the Southwest is the Bible belt and Dallas is the buckle," he quips.
Jeffress thinks it's important for Christians to make Bible reading a priority. "A lot of people talk about the Bible and want to defend it, but very few read it regularly, which may explain why so many people are apathetic about their faith."