Considered by many as one of the most literal translations available, the Amplified Bible adds meaning and understanding for the reader by using contemporary language, and by giving the text its fullest meaning with added words (in brackets and parentheses) for clarification.
Some consider it fragmented in style, but once one gets into the flow of it, it is easier reading and very enlightening.
After many years of reading the KJV, I purchased the Amplified in 1999, and was astounded by how it made already familiar texts come to life. I am presently almost at the end of my second cover-to-cover reading, and love this translation more than ever.
The heart and soul of this translation was the dedication and scholarship of Dr. Frances Siewert (1881-1967), a remarkable woman whose passion for the scriptures and knowledge of languages, along with the commitment of the Lockman Foundation and Zondervan Publishing House, gave us this marvelous translation, first published in one volume in 1965.
Among the many sources used were Rudolph Kittel's Biblia Hebraica, Wescott and Hort's Greek Text, the 23rd Edition of Nestle Greek New Testament, and Greek and Hebrew lexicons.
Each book has an introduction that I find extremely useful; it gives historical perspective, insights into the authorship, and more.
The back of the volume contains a fairly extensive concordance, several maps, and the leatherbound and hardback editions have a print size that is kind to the eyes.
For those like me who are "non-academic", but want to understand and learn from the scriptures as much as we are capable of, I highly recommend reading this translation, at least once in a lifetime.
Amplified: "God is our Refuge and Strength (mighty and impenetrable to temptation), a very present and well-proved help in trouble".
KJV: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble".