I have known Jesus as my Savior since age 13 and began to truly understand what it means to walk as His disciple in college. I developed excellent skills for critical thinking while achieving my M.S. in Biology, and began to apply those in earnest during training for campus ministry, which included Theology classes taught by professors from accredited seminaries.
I much prefer letting the Scriptures interpret the passage I am studying to reading commentary, but recognize the need for community in the body of Christ for avoiding heretical interpretations. I found the stack exchange while exploring answers to one of my personal questions.
My experience as a campus minister in the Middle East has greatly enhanced my understanding of the general culture and geography which forms the context for the Scriptures. It has increased my ability to think about a text from various viewpoints. Learning another language fluently also enriches my understanding and makes looking at the original languages through study tools more accessible for my personal Bible Study.