Jesse, something I might have failed to mention in the original article is the testing process. Paul wrote in an letter in the bible that we should test all things. My personal journey of questioning and testing the bible, book by book started in my childhood.
Much of why I believe what I believe is from trial and error. When I ignored what God was teaching me through the bible I learned much from each experience. Later, through dialog with others as you have mentioned I continued in the process.
At 70 years of age I am now to the point of allowing the words of the bible to test me.