What is the best English Bible version?
There is no single answer to this question that works for everyone. When it comes to Bible usage in a language like English where we have so many different English versions and different kinds of people using them, "one size doesn't fit all."
It is helpful to answer this question with several other questions, such as:
1. Do you wish to use a Bible version which is the same as what your church uses as its pew Bible?
2. What will be your primary use for your Bible? For instance, will you use it mostly for detailed Bible study or for devotional reading?
3. Are you part of a faith community which helps explain the meaning of difficult wordings in Bible versions?
4. Do you prefer a more sophisticated kind of English when you read the Bible or do you prefer "everyday" English?
I have posted some ideas about the value of using different English versions on my webpage titled Recent English Bible Versions Compared. This webpage (and others like it; there are several linked from my webpage) will help answer your question, as you think through the followup questions above.
I should also note that I agree with many others who have addressed this question when they say that there is value in using more than one English Bible version, especially, if you use more than one kind of Bible version. For instance, it helps to use a more literal Bible version, such as the NASB, RSV, NRSV, HCSB, ESV with which to do in-depth Bible study, such as word studies (I would include the NIV in this group, although many others do not). Then it is also good to have a more idiomatic ("dynamic"; more easily readable) translation to use along with the more literal version. More idiomatic English versions would include: NLT, REB, TEV/GNT, CEV, NCV, GW, and, as some would analyze it, the NIV (which I consider a more literal translation). More idiomatic translations are smoother for reading and can help us get a better grasp of the bigger picture, an overall view of a chapter or a book of the Bible, and overall themes, history, and logical flow.