“The 65 best New Year's resolutions for 2024” shouted the headline on the internet site I was surfing. I was intrigued. Mainly because 65 seemed such an odd number. The suggestions included drinking less alcohol, drinking more water, exercising more, reading more and 61 other things – usually with the word “more” attached. 

If you are a Christian, chances are your resolutions would include reading the Bible more and praying more. I'm reluctant to write about the quiet time because it has always seemed that most other people were more “spiritual” than me (as measured by the time they spent in Bible reading and prayer).

Guilt trips aside, out of the 65 (or more!) New Year's resolutions you could make, none will be more beneficial than establishing a good prayer and Bible-reading habit. Like me, you may have tried a few systems and all of them have failed. Can I suggest that rather than reading the Bible, you listen to it? That has been a major breakthrough for me. 

Here are four ways you can do it:

ESV: Through the Bible in a Year 

This is a podcast/daily reading system from Crossway, publishers of the English Standard Version Bible. You can read the Bible here but a great daily discipline is by listening to it through any podcast player. Google the phrase ESV: Through the Bible in a Year Podcast and you should find it. This was my personal favourite as the reading, by professional audio book reader, David Cochran Heath, was engaging without being overdramatic. Unfortunately, ESV.org unexpectedly removed his readings from the podcast this year and the new reader is not as good. You can still get David Cochran Heath on the ESV website and if you sign up for the Bible in a Year, they will send you a daily email and  you can choose his voice on the audio bible. It’s not as easy to access as the podcast though. It is disappointing as the easier it is to start each daily reading, the more likely it is that people will keep going.

Poirot's plan

Sir David Suchet, who plays Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercule Poirot on TV, has recorded the New International Version Bible. His expressive reading makes it come alive. It is a paid app, though, while the ESV podcast is free. But (twirl of the moustache) who can resist Poirot?


A smartphone app and website under the Faith Comes by Hearing banner, which was a pioneering audio Bible project. Reading plans are available through the app but I think the dramatic reading sometimes detracts from the content.

You Version Bible

This app for Android and Apple phones is one of the most popular in the world and is already installed on 500 million devices. The kids edition has been downloaded more than 100 million times! While I wouldn’t vouch for all of the resources, you can listen to the Bible in many versions and the recordings seem good. There is also a plan section and a helpful “streaks” counter, which can keep you ticking over the days that you have kept your Bible-listening resolution.

So, there are four ways to kick-start Bible reading for 2024. A note of caution, though: some of these audio players offer paraphrases rather than Bible translations. I think it is best to stick to a recognised translation such as the ESV or NIV rather than the other alternatives. 

Resolution two, of course, is prayer. As that is always best when guided by the word of God, make a habit of praying immediately after reading and 2024 will be richer and more rewarding than the 65 other resolutions could make it.