The New International Version (NIV)
The most widely used Twentieth Century translation in English. The NIV uses modern, natural language, and is translated in a thought-for-thought method, rather than word-for-word, in order to make the text easy for contemporary readers to follow. Not a variation or updating of previous translations, but a fresh look at the original Hebrew and Greek Scripture. Commonly used in worship services and small group studies.
The English Standard Version (ESV)
A recent translation (2001), that follows in the tradition of the Tyndale Translation, the King James Version, the American Standard Version and the Revised Standard Version. The ESV combines word-for-word translation with contemporary English, but in a manner that retains much of the majesty of language found in the KJV. The translation chairman was J.I. Packer, and this version is highly regarded for its scholarship. A very good choice for Biblical study.
The King James Version (KJV)
First published in 1611, this is still one of the most widely-used translations because of the beauty and magnificent quality of the language. It has inspired the writings of John Bunyan, John Milton, Herman Melville, John Dryden and William Wordsworth; all of whom quoted and paraphrased from the KJV. It was also based partly on the Bishop’s Bible, which had a strong influence on the works of William Shakespeare. The King James Version is widely used in church services because of how exquisite and powerful it sounds when spoken.