So I will try to explain a bit, but try to keep things as "non-religious" as possible. Obviously, because of the topic, it's gonna be tricky.
First is why are there so many versions. And while a proper study of such a thing is not really needed, a good "overview" is. "The Bible" is actually a collection of writings by different people. That's why you get "The first book of Moses" etc. in the titles of the books. For example Genesis is called "The First Book Of Moses: Genesis" or some translation close to that. But the bible has many human authors (and religions believe 1 divine author, via various means). But the original documents, are not in english (or any modern language) but in the language spoke by their authors at the time. Many "sources" for the bible are either Greek or Hebrew.
At some point in time (depends on the version), someone said, lets translate this to something more modern. The catholic church believed that only thru proper study could you understand what the bible was trying to say, so for a long time they were apposed to any "public" translation.
Then stuff happens and the KJV is produced. A massive undertaking, even today, with what is widely regarded as "the best" over all translation capturing the "meaning" of the text.
However as more people learn Greek and Hebrew, and as more original (or just closer to the original) bit of the Bible are found we start noticing areas in the Bible that really don't make as much sense as a new translation.
So, again stuff happens and New versions of the Bible are produced that have a "better" or "more accurate" translation. However, this is where the problem comes in. In the Bible, we are tought that adding to or subtracting from the Bible is bad. Do these new translations "fix" misunderstanding or create more misunderstandings.
All languages evolve, and as English evolves some of the words in the KJV have fallen out of use, or have very different meanings they they did at the time the KJV was translated. Worse yet, the translations for the KJV were done, from still other translations, and not in them selves 100% correct.
All of that comes down to the "correct" version is going to depend ALOT on the person reading the Bible, and their religion's beliefs. Some will wind the KJV flawed, others will find other versions flawed. The truth is that there is no right answer. There is no single "Master Version" of the Bible. The choice of which Bible you use in your religious studies is as personal as which religion you follow.
According to this site the KJV is by par the most pervasive in the US, followed by the NIS. So if your going for that iconic Bible quite then the KJV is probably your best bet. It's been around the longest, and everyone should recognize it's "sound".
"And the heavens opened. And he smote him. Cast him down upon the sands. And he cried out. Why hast thou not heeded my word. Thou are dead."
Sounds Bible-ly. It's not but with a healthy amount of "Thou and cast, a smote or two and a few misplaced Ands, anything can sound like it came from the bible.
"Thou wilt go forward unto McDonalds, and there thou will find 10 chicken nuggets. Shall you eat thy nuggets there you will surly die. But shall you return to wenst you came, and bath the nuggets in the sauce of BBQ, thou shall have tasty dinner." Again totally bogus but sounds about right (sorry not good at this but you get the idea)
Simularly, and these are actual quotes.
- O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
- Oh give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his loving kindness endureth for ever.
- And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
- Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
To me the first sounds more "Bible-y" while the second sounds kinda lame. The first is the KJV and the second is the ESV.