Traditional Christianity has always proposed the examination of the Bible as the only way to seek knowledge about God, His nature, and His purpose. This method has almost always promoted certain individuals as specially endowed to explain and interpret the biblical text, these special people being a part of the institutional church.
An alternative to this traditional approach involves formulating what I consider to be fundamental questions. These questions derive to some extent from the Bible but also from intrinsic issues, like life, death, suffering, evil, conflict, variation in life circumstances, brotherhood, and the hereafter. Using basic question as the starting point, I then endeavor to postulate possible answers, based first and foremost on my fundamental assessment of God’s nature. Even those who claim to rely exclusively on the Bible as the basis for answering all such basic questions must start with certain assumptions about God, in order to make sense of the varied ways God is depicted in the scriptures. Once questions and possible answers are developed, the answers can be compared with the scriptures to see if there are unconventional ways to apply the scriptures in support of a proposed answer. In most cases, I find that the non-traditional answers involve no more scriptural contradictions than the traditional ones.
The method of searching that I favor requires that questions never cease because when no more questions arise, the search for Truth is finished. Under the normal paradigm questions are troublesome, if not downright dangerous, and therefore should be discouraged. In contrast, the method of formulating questions and postulating possible answers make questioning essential to the entire process.