East Tennessee store swaps soda for scripture

FRIENDSVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Many people attend church services, but did you ever think you might be able to get a better understanding of the bible from a convenience store?

As Matthew 4:4 says, "Man shall not live by bread alone."

That's why a Blount County store is rewarding customers who get to know their bible verses with a free soft drink.

When you think about the Bible, a church probably comes to mind, and probably not a convenience store.

But that’s a different story for folks visiting the Friendsville Market, where the marquee outside has a Bible verse posted. But it's up to you to know what it is.

Joe Stinnett knows his Bible verse.

"If anyone is preaching to you the gospel other than what you've accepted let him be eternally condemned."

The reward for knowing.

"That's right. You can get you a free drink."

The stores owner started the Bible verse for a drink more than a year ago. The goal...get the community more involved with their Christian faith.

Employee Lonnie Gribble says, "We figured it would start being the kids but it's branched out and been more of a whole family thing."

Another customer, another verse. But not the one that’ll get you a free drink.

"In all thy ways acknowledge him he will wreck thy path.”

“What Bible verse is that?”

“It's a good one."

But just knowing a Bible verse won't cut it. You have to know the one on the marquee that changes weekly.

Several in the community think it's a great idea.

Stinnett says, "Keeps everybody on their toes, even makes me study a little bit more the Bible. We can't get enough of that can we?"

Customer Kirk McDaniel says, "It gets a lot of people involved and interested in learning Bible verses and that's a thing a lot of people need to know."

So for some customers, knowing a little more about God is paying off in a refreshing way.

"How many free drinks you think you've gotten?”

Stinnett says, “Oh, several belly fulls I guess."

Apparently the idea is a success. Gribble says they're giving away a dozen drinks a day, and even more when school is in session.

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