King James is much older language, early 17th century, which is almost the same period as Shakespeare. It's useful for familiar quotations, like proverbs or sayings, or for often-recited passages, like the 121st psalm or the Christmas story. It's not very useful just for reading and understanding the text.
If you like relatively traditional style but want to understand the text in modern language, you might like the Revised Standard Version (RSV)
, which is the version that many adult American Protestants grew up with.
The most standard current translation, the one most widely used in scholarship and liturgy, is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
. Scroll down the page for the word search function, and use the pull-down menu if you want the regular version rather than the anglicized (BE) spelling.
You can compare passages in KJV, RSV, and NRSV (and the Greek New Testament) at the ECanon
website. Unfortunately, that website doesn't have a text search.
A good choice for comparing German and English is DieBibel.de
, which has an NRSV link in its pull-down list, as well as Luther and Einheitsübersetzung versions.
If you can buy a printed Bible, I would recommend an annotated edition of the NRSV such as the New Interpreter's Study Bible
(my vote) or the New Oxford Annotated Bible. Both are well worth the investment.
Another version you might be interested in comparing is the New Jerusalem Bible. This website
is not very well sourced but appears to offer the text online, book by book, not searchable. I agree with Sharper that the Catholic/Protestant issue is largely irrelevant nowadays, but since some Catholics still prefer a Catholic-published version, this is one of the better ones.
If you were referring to Bible Gateway
, NIV (New International Version) is the best choice there for general reading. It's a decent modern translation, and it's not simplified language. Its drawbacks are that it's somewhat conservative, and it's already 30 or 40 years old, so it doesn't reflect recent scholarship, much less current usage on questions such as inclusive language. You should avoid most of the other translations at Bible Gateway; most are very literal and very conservative.
The most common simplified-language versions are the Good News Bible (a translation, but a loose one) and the Living Bible (a paraphrase, not a translation). The former is better if you have to choose one, but if you can read English fairly well, you shouldn't need either.
New King James would be very low on my list. I see no reason to read it when you can read either the original King James or any of half a dozen better modern translations.
We've had this entire discussion before, so I would also suggest looking in the archive (Suche in allen Foren).