Deciding on which Bible version is best isn't as simple as we might hope. Different Bibles have different translation styles. But, let's take a look and compare.
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. When translating from those languages into English, different styles of translation can be used. Some Bible translators attempt to produce as literal a translation as possible. Others try to carry the meaning from the original into English. However, because the original languages are so different than English, a direct translation sometimes sounds a bit "wooden" and not as smooth as native English might sound. Also, certain phrases in the original language just don’t make sense in the English, so an equivalent phrase is used to carry the meaning.
Translators are aware of these issues, and most try to keep the original intent and the original wording as accurate as possible. So, they try and make it smooth and accurate. For the most part this is easy to do and relatively few passages present any real translating challenge.
Okay, so which Bible translations are the best? Depends on what you are looking for. If you want a more literal translation then go with the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the King James Version (KJV), and the English Standard Version (ESV). A more “flowing” translation is the New International Version (NIV), and even more loose is the Phillips Translation and the Living Bible.
I suggest that you get one of each, a literal-leaning translation as well as a meaning-leaning translation. Between the two of them you'll do fine.
|Isaiah 9:6||For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
|For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.||For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.||For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.|
|John 1:18||No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.||No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.||No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.||No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.|
|John 8:58||"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"||Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.||Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”||"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"|
|Rom. 5:18||So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.||Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.||Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.||Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.|
|Titus 2:13||looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;||Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;||waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,||while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,|