What is the best translation of the Bible? That depends on how you plan on using your Bible. Some translations are better for study, others for personal devotional reading and others for worship.

Below is a list of translations put together by www.christianbook.com that presents the reading level required to understand the particular translation. Also you can visit bible.gospelcom.net to search for a bible passage.
I have also included a chart provided by christianbooks.com which lists all the translations of the Bible today on a scale from the most literal translation (closest to the original Greek and Hebrew) to the most free translation.
Hope this helps and encourages you to select the Bible translation that best meets your needs.
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Bible Translations Reading Levels

Sometimes, it helps to know what the approximate reading level is for a given translation. Here’s a quick and easy guide for the most popular translations:


Translation Grade Level Translation Grade Level
KJV 12th NIV 7th-8th
RSV 12th NKJV 7th
NASB 11th NLT 6th
NRSV 11th Message 4th-5th
ESV 10th NCV 3rd
HCSB 9th-10th NIRV 3rd


literal translation or formal equivalent seeks to represent
the original Greek and Hebrew in a more word for word manner. Many prefer
this method because, they are assured that each English word is represented
by a Greek or Hebrew word, not some expansion or interpretation by the
translator(s). Some literal translations include: the KJV (King James Version
), the RSV (Revised Standard Bible), the NAS (New American Standard Bible),
the NAS ’95 Update (New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition), and the
NKJV (New King James Version).

paraphrase or free translation is one which is not as concerned
with original word order or sentence structure as it is the idea of the
passage. This type of translation seeks to render the ideas in the original
text as accurately as possible in the target language (like English). Some
examples in this category are: The Philips translation (the New Testament
in Modern English), the LB (the Living Bible), and the Message (by Eugene

dynamic equivalent is a translation that seeks to strike a
balance between the two mentioned above. The goal of this type of translation
is to render the idea conveyed by the original language into that of the
target language (like English). Some examples in this category would be
the NIV (New International Version), NRSV (New Revised Standard Version),
and the NAB (New American Bible).