Day 6: 1st letters and commentaries {Tools for memorizing}


Repeat 3-5 times, twice a day.

You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.”
Isaiah 12:1 (ESV)

Practice reciting your verse looking only at 1st letters, twice a day.

Y w s i t d: “I w g t t y, O L, f t y w a w m, y a t a, t y m c m.”
Isaiah 12:1 (ESV)


1. Get 1st letters

Using the first letter of each word is another effective review method that I use almost daily.

Here’s how it works. Practice saying “I will give thanks to you, O Lord,” while looking at these 1st letters, “I w g t t y, O L.”

But you don’t have to come up with the first letters yourself! Use this link to copy whatever text you’re memorizing. It will convert it to first letters for you.

Or print these if you’re memorizing Isaiah 12. Here are the 1st letter cards and 1st letter one-page text.

2. Add and practice new verse in Scripture Typer

Start practicing Isaiah 12:1 in Scripture Typer. Start with step 1: Type It. Move to step 2 when you can: Memorize It. Then finally step 3: Master It.

3. Look up commentaries

If you want to actually study the text, many online commentaries are easily accessible. Bible Gateway shows you how to look up commentaries as you’re reading text. Here is Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 12.

Or if you downloaded e-Sword from Day 5, you can add many free commentaries to have at your fingertips. This is what I use.

I like to jot down notes every Tuesday from what I read in the commentaries. I only take 5-10 minutes. Here are some tidbits I wrote from background reading on Isaiah 12:1 . . .

  • In that day—what day? – day of victory and joy (Isaiah 10:20,27) for them, the time of the Messiah still to come.
  • Who will say? “Everyone” or “all.” Originally the nation of Israel who was delivered.



* Experiment with different methods.
A review method that works for one person may not work for another. But you never know what will work for you until you try. Give different methods a couple weeks to see if they help you (such as Scripture Typer and 1st letters). If they do, great! If they don’t, discard them.


Like studying root words, using commentaries to actually study the verse will cement it in your mind, and help you more fully understand and appreciate it.

But again, it’s not necessary. If you don’t have time or interest for it, don’t worry about it. Use your time with God as best suits you and him. 


* * *

Have you ever memorized using 1st letters? Did it help you? Please share in the comments.




15 thoughts on “Day 6: 1st letters and commentaries {Tools for memorizing}

  1. Lyli @

    Love that link that converts to first letters. Excellent tool that I will be bookmarking.

    I actually have a Bible memorization app that makes the words disappear by putting in blanks, but the 1st letter thing is a nice in-between step.

    Regarding commentaries, I really love the outline commetary from David Guzik at — He hasn’t done the entire Bible, but quite a bit of it. I find it easier to read and more practical than Matthew Henry.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for recommending that commentary, Lyli. I will definitely bookmark it for myself and for future posts here too! I’m always on the lookout for good resources.

  2. Devi

    Lisa, what a great idea for a series. . My parents memorized psalm 139 and Colossians 3 with us when I was in high school, and I can still remember chunks of both chapter 15 years later. I’m so thankful for this.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a blessing that you had parents to memorize with, Devi. I’m sure they would be glad to know that you still remember pieces from both chapters still today!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Great point, Floyd. Adding music to most anything makes it more memorable for me too! Most people are more gifted at *creating* the music than I am though, so I have to depend on them for that. 🙂

  3. Anita Ojeda

    Oh, boy! What a cool series! I will have to bookmark it so I can return in November and read the whole series :). It’s been awhile since I’ve practiced the discipline of memorizing scripture.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m bookmarking series too, Anita (including yours!). Trying to read all the great ones while trying to write for 31 days yourself is a bit much. ha. Lots of important work being done this month by so many awesome bloggers.

  4. David

    Dear Lisa

    Till reading this blog post, I thought this first letters idea was mad. Now I realise it is just like the Kitty-Levin proposal scene in Anna Karenina! Also, writing out the initials of a verse with my finger on the bedsheet was quite a nice thing to do. So, thank you for persevering!

    I like reading about Scripture but I think for me chewing over the commentary would interfere with the learning. I think that kind of research is something I do when “homing in” to choose a verse to learn or, once I’ve initially learnt it, to help it embed a bit more deeply.

    Excellent series! I especially love your “final word of encouragement”s.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You know I love the Kitty-Levin reference. 🙂 It’s nice to have finished Anna Karenina and *get* these kind of references now. Writings the letters with your finger is a great tactile way to embed (no pun intended) the verse too. I used to think first letters was ridiculous too until I discovered that it actually helped. I’m sure it’s still not for everybody, but thankfully it’s another shortcut for me (I need all I can get).

      Thanks for your encouragement about the series. Pick and choose what is helpful to use; delete the rest.

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