Question: “What is the best Bible translation?”
Answer: My first thought is to point out that followers of Jesus do NOT worship the Bible.
We are to show it the respect it deserves as God’s Word but it is NOT God nor are we to allow it to distract our attention away from God.
The many 100’s of versions, translations and paraphrases can be both good and bad.
It is good because it makes it accessible to anyone who has a particular need. For instance, if someone is a poor reader and needs a easy-to-understand accurate translation, there is one easily accessible.
I daily use (free) biblegateway.com and keep 3 or 4 translations close at hand to compare. When there is a difference, I study to find out why.
I prefer (NIV) the New International Version, (NKJV) New King James Version, (NLT) New Living Translation, and (ESV) English Standard Version.
I would encourage you to explore the Amplified Bible. It has a unique perspective and offers a wonderful insight when studying.
If a verse or passage in one translation is a little confusing, it can be helpful to compare it side-by-side with another version.
I am not wise enough to say which Bible translation is the “best”.
The Bible translation process had different objectives and different methods. For example, the KJV and NAS attempted to take the underlying Hebrew and Greek words and translate them into the closest corresponding English words as possible (word for word).
The NIV and NLT attempted to take the original thought that was being presented in Greek and Hebrew and then express that thought in English (thought for thought).
Paraphrases such as The Message or The Living Bible can be used to gain a different perspective on the meaning of a verse, but they should not be used as a primary Bible translation.
When exploring the usefulness of a translation, I will always turn to John 3:16, John 1:1, John 1:14, John 8:58 to insure the Bible translation is true to the Deity of Jesus.
I want to close with a thought. Do not allow the controversy of Bible translations to distract you away from honest Bible Study.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 KJV