Stephen at Withering Fig suggests five keys to picking a Bible translation.
He prefers more word-for-word translations, but he also makes the good point that a looser translation or paraphrase can help bring alive some parts of the Bible—especially the stories of the Gospels and parts of the Old Testament.
His five keys:
- Who’s translating this thing?
- How is the text presented?
- Play the field (i.e., try different translations)
For himself, he writes:
I have been devoted to the ESV for over a year now, and its style feels like an extension of me. When I pick up the text it is instantly familiar, allowing me to listen to what God is trying to tell me.