Well, you got a lot of options. Actually I think the best option is to go to a Christian bookshop, sit down and have a read. Choose a passage that you are maybe a bit familiar with and look at it in several translations. Or even better, choose a handful of passages – including a historical passage, a psalm, a bit from the gospels and a passage from one of the NT letters. Often you can find a pamphlet or guide in the shop that will give you some extra help.
You can look at bibles on a sort of a spectrum. At the one end you have very literal translations. These tend to take a word by word approach to translating and are often a bit awkward to read. At the extreme of these are interlinears which show the original lingo with each word translated into english and no attempt to alter the word order. Down that end of the spectrum you find New American Standard, New King James, King James among others.
At the other end of teh spectrum are paraphrases. One of the more popular ones at the moment is “The Message”. These take a concept by concept appraoch to “translating” (I use the term loosely.) Everything gets expressed in English idiom. They are easy and fun to read and a great way to get familiar with the stories of the bible. But for serious study, forget it. The Living Bible is another paraphrase that was popular a few years ago. The Amplified is another.
In the middle are bibles that are translated using the principle of dynamic equivalence. Or, if you like, a phrase by phrase approach to translation. These read pretty well and don’t get you bogged down too much, but still tend to be pretty literal. I guess the NIV is one of the more popular here. It has had wide acceptance from many different denomenations. Unfortunately, it does contain a number of unfortunate mistranslations. Not enough to throw you out of the water if you are getting started, but enough to make it unsuitable for any serious theological study. Other bibles in the middle bracket are: Contemporary English Version (CEV), New Living, Jerusalem Bible, and probably a stack of others. Recently published is what is called “The New International Version” TNIV. I haven’t had a close look at it, but it seems rather good. It was put together by the same organisation that did the NIV. It flows rather well and appears to have addressed most of the translational glitches.
Other things to look for are linguistic styles. If you don’t like the Old English, then avoid NKJ and any other older translations. Some use really flowery language, and some stick to a rather small vocabulary. There is one around called the New Century Version (marketed as the International Children’s Bible) that deliberately uses a small vocab and short sentences. At the same time it stays fairly close to the literal end of teh spectrum.
Sentence length is an issue. Paul in particular wrote with great heavy and lengthy sentences that tied together a stream of interconnected thoughts that might continue for half a page or more. (Ephesians Ch 1 is classic for this.) Some of the connections are lost or obscured when translators make the sentences short. OTOH, division into smaller sentences makes it a whole lot easier to read.
You also want to look at different parts of the bible. Something like 15% of the bible is written poetically while the rest is in prose. It is helpful to have these typeset differently. Poetry is designed to appeal to the emotions while prose appeals to the intellect. For obvious reasons these should be approached a litttle differently when reading and studying.
As for accuracy in translation, well, people will always argue, but the truth is that you won’t notice a whole lot of practical difference between different versions. The modern trend is for translations to be done over a period of several years by teams of a hundred or more translators. So, more recent versions tend to be a bit more scholorly and probably more reliable.
Finally, you may wish to ask yourself how much help you want in reading the bible. There are a whole lot of editions around with a variety of study notes of different kinds. You get maps and concordances and cross references and notes of explanation and book introductions and “how to apply this” style notes and you name it. Personally, I find most of these distracting, but they can be useful if you are trying to piece things together.
In summary, the best idea is to take an hour or so and do your own browsing. You will quickly figure out what suits you.