Bible Question:

I am receiving several different points of view from family and friends on the best Bible to read. I'm hoping you can shed some light on this.

Bible Answer:

The English Standard Version (ESV) is the best Bible for Bible study, with the New King James Version (NKJV) and New American Standard Bible (NASB) being close behind. For serious Bible study you want a Bible that is as close to a literal translation of the Hebrew and Greek language as possible. The ESV, NKJV and NASB do that. The New International Version is not recommended for Bible study. Here are the reasons why.

Greek Example

In order to explain, we need to start with an example from the New Testament. The scripture below is Acts 14:23. The English words below have been put in the same order as the Greek words.

Having appointed and for them in every church elders, praying with fastings they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed. Acts 14:23 (NASB)

Different Bibles

Now we will compare the different Bibles,

ESV
When  they had appointed elders for them in every church, having  prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

King James
And when they had ordained elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed.

New King James
So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

NASB
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

HCSB
When they had appointed elders in every church and prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

NIV
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and with prayer and fasting committed them to the Lord in whom they had put their trust.

New Living Translation
Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

Living Bible
Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church and prayed for them with fasting, turning them over to the care of the Lord to whom they trusted.

Amplified Bible
And when they had appointed and ordained elders for them in each church with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord in Whom they had come to believe [being full of the joyful trust that He is the Christ, the Messiah].

The Secret New Kingdom Bible
They chose elders for each church, by praying and giving up eating for a certain time. These elders had trusted the Lord, so Paul and Barnabas put them in the Lord’s care.

God’s Word
They had the disciples in each church choose spiritual leaders, and with prayer and fasting they entrusted the leaders to the Lord in whom they believed.

The red highlights show substantial deviation from the original Greek.

Comparisons

The ESV, KJV,  NKJV and NASB are very close to the actual wording of the original Greek version of the book of Acts. This is typical for these Bible translations. The other Bibles differ substantially. The last one, God’s Word, is the worst because it says the disciples of each church selected the elders and that is not true. The Greek does not say that. The NIV, The Secret Kingdom New Testament Bible, and Living Bible add to the Word of God when they add the words, “Paul and Barnabas.” These words are not in the Greek. This example is typical of these Bibles.

Conclusion:

The English Standard Version, New King James Version or the New American Standard are recommended for Bible study and reading.

Reference Links:

Is The King James Bible The Best Bible?
What Bible would you recommend?
How do you decide which Bible to use?
Are any of the English Bible translations 100% accurate?
How Accurate Is The Bible?