We featured a number of Bible study articles on the site in 2012 that helped you dig deeper in your understanding of Scripture. Here are the ten most popular:

10. joseph's family fiasco: trusting god in a painful process

Identity is a complicated thing. Our self-awareness is profoundly shaped by who our family is, by where we come from, and by the work we do, among other factors. So when a person is raised in a dysfunctional family, is removed from his or her own culture, and has to work in a dead-end job, self-identity takes a triple hit. Such trauma could have lasting impact on the person and ripple effects into future generations.

9. our salvation: a study in jonah

The book of Jonah may be studied for many reasons, but a chief reason is for what it teaches about God's sovereignty. Sovereignty is a problem for some Christians in certain areas. There are areas in which it is not a problem, of course. For example, most of us do not have problems with God's rule in the area of natural law. Gravity is one illustration. God exercises his rule through gravity, and we do not have difficulty at this point. In fact, we are even somewhat reassured that objects conform to such laws. The point at which we do have problems is that at which the sovereign will of God comes into opposition with a contrary human will.

8. telling others the gospel, even when it's difficult

Telling others the gospel isn't easy. I know -- as a young man, I was convinced I didn't have the gift of evangelism. It was obvious. No matter how hard I tried, no one was coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing I did seemed to make a difference. I was inspired by the things I read and heard about Billy Graham's ministry, but I knew I didn't have his gifts.

7. why worrying is a failure to grasp the gospel

Certainly, those who are seeking the kingdom above all things are not preoccupied with food, and drink, and clothing (as Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount). And yes, seeking the kingdom first is a good action plan if we find ourselves worrying.

But seeking first the kingdom comes after we have been sought by the King. The root cause of worry is not misplaced priorities. It's misplaced faith. It's a failure to grasp the gospel of a God worthy of our trust.

6. how to read the bible theologically

To read the Bible "theologically" means to read the Bible "with a focus on God": his being, his character, his words and works, his purpose, presence, power, promises, and precepts. The Bible can be read from different standpoints and with different centers of interest, but this article seeks to explain how to read it theologically.

5. real men flee temptation

True masculinity doesn’t idolize sports, money, status, or the passing pleasures of this world. The lusts of the flesh come naturally to sinners, and any self-indulgent boy can consume himself with his own desires. But a real man does what is hard. He is a fighter, but not in the sense that the Raiders meant. Rather he fights for his Savior’s glory, for his own sanctification, and for the spiritual good of those around him.

4. seven 'last days' passages you'll rarely hear pastors preach on

When most pastors preach a sermon on the end times they usually start with the Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:1Mark 13:1 and Luke 21:1) or the Book of Revelation. For years the focus on end times discussions has remained in the New Testament. Unfortunately that results in our teachers only giving us the end of the story.

3. beyond sunday: taking up the cross

take up his cross;
cheerfully receive, and patiently bear, every affliction and evil, however shameful and painful it may be, which is appointed for him, and he is called unto; which is his peculiar cross, as every Christian has his own; to which he should quietly submit, and carry, with an entire resignation to the will of God, in imitation of his Lord

2. what happens to us when we die?

In answering questions about life after death, we are left with only two sources to consult. Either we turn to human experience or we turn to the Word of God. If we turn to human experience, we find many guesses, many ideas, many theories—but no sure answers. That’s because, in the nature of the case, no human has a sure answer. The only people who have the answer are dead! That leaves us with the Word of God. In God’s Word we find ample, abundant answers.

1. five steps to peace in a really bad situation

How do you get peace in a really bad situation? You may be in the fight of your life financially and about to lose your home. It may be that you've been diagnosed with lung cancer as my father-in-law was. It may be that your marriage is falling apart. You fill in the blank. We're either headed into a crisis, in the midst of one, or coming out of one. Now, coming out of one is great. We can see what God was up to in part, and we get a measure of peace from that. But how can we get peace if we're headed into or in the midst of a crisis? God tells us how to do just that in Philippians 4:4.