When you find the translation that's just right for you there will be times when your study time will just sing!
Two features will be important to you when you search for a good Bible to study with. The translation, and the type of Bible. The translation has to do with getting the words of the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew transcripts into your own language. The type of Bible indicates what type of extras come with your translation such as maps, commentary, devotionals and dictionaries.
Pick the translation first! Your favorite study tools can always be added later.
THE KING JAMES VERSION
The King James Version is a translation many Americans grew up with. The picture above of one of my Bibles is an illustrated family Bible from the 1950s. Sometimes you will see the KJV called the Authorized King James Version. It was first published in 1611 in the common speech of "regular folk" of that century. To our ears the words and sentence structure are now very archaic and can sometimes be difficult to understand. It's English... but it isn't!
If you read the KJV on a regular basis, however, you'll find that the language is rich and elegant and grows on you. The King James Version lends itself, more than any other translation, to memorization. If you're the type of person who wants to memorize scripture, you'll find this translation has a grace and fluidity that will aid you.
Remember this? "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
That is one of the most memorized passages in the Bible, and you don't even mind saying words like "art" and "thy." In fact, I'm not even sure I could quote the Lord's Prayer from any other translation. My mind just automatically goes for the KJV.
I also appreciate the quality of the translation. As a serious disciple of God's Word, it's important to me that the Bible I'm using does it's best to give me God's Word, not an approximation of what someone thinks God meant.
"For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Heb. 4:12 (KJV)
Not only is that a powerful sentence that one could mull over for a long time, it's very very true. There's nothing like God's own words.
More than 300 years later, Bible scholars realized a more modern translation was needed. The goal was to create an "accurate, beautiful, clear and dignified translation suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching, memorizing, and liturgical use."
It is my opinion that they were successful, as this is my go-to Bible when preparing a Sunday School lesson. Those are times when I want to make sure that every student, whether they are long time scholars or are just cracking their Bibles open for the first time, are able to clearly understand what God is saying.
If you are looking for a Bible that adheres closely to the original text, but is written in modern American English, the NIV is a good option.
There are other translations which I will also review. Don't feel like you have to have only one Bible, though. Sometimes switching to a different translation helps me gain understanding.
Besides, God's Word never gets boring, and never gets old, no matter which translation I'm looking at. Try it and see.