Which version should I read?
There are different approaches to Bible translation. In one approach, the translator attempts to keep as close to the 'form' of the Hebrew or Greek, both words and grammar, as can be conveniently put into understandable English - a word-for-word or literal approach. Another approach is to keep the meaning of the Hebrew or Greek but to put their words and idioms into what would be the normal way of saying the same thing in English - these are meaning-for-meaning translations.
Other approaches may lie somewhere between these two approaches. For example, the New International Version is translated by a committee of translators who, as far as possible, try to remain faithful to both the original language and the receptor language: English. However, when something has to 'give', it is in favour of English as the very reason for translating the Bible is to make it accessible to the English-speaker who doesn't know the original language.
Here is a list of the main 10 Protestant Bible versions in use in Britain today, apart from the venerable King James Version (KJV).
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV, 1989), with inclusive language (eg. brothers and sisters)
English Standard Version (ESV, 2001), cousin to NRSV but without inclusive language
New King James Version (NKJV, 1982), KJV with thee/thou language omitted
Midway between word-for-word and meaning-for-meaning:
New International Version (NIV, 1978). A new 2010 version of this is on Biblegateway.com already, the printed version is to be published in March 2011
Today’s NIV (TNIV, 2001) an updated NIV with inclusive language
Good News Bible (GNB, 1976)
Contemporary English Version(CEV, 1995) similar to GNB, taking the meaning for meaning principle further
New Living Translation (NLT, 1996, revised 2004) more sophisticated than GNB and CEV
New Century Version (NCV, 1987) - somewhere between NIV and GNB. Several editions aimed at teens - I use this with the kids.
The Message (1993) by Eugene Peterson
Don’t forget - you can find these versions and more at www.biblegateway.com