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How Great Thou Art
Psalm 145:3
O STORE GUD  |  Hymn History  |  Bible Passage
Author: Carl Boberg, 1859-1940
Tr. By Stuart K. Hine, 1899-
Musician: Swedish Melody
Arr. By Stuart K. Hine, 1899-

  Play MP3 • Click to listen to the music for this hymn.

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed,

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin;

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!


In Psalm 19, verse 1, David tells us 'The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.' This great truth is elaborated in the words of the now famous hymn "How Great Thou Art".

It has become one of the most popular spiritual songs of our time, and I suppose could rightly be described as a Christian classic.

Although it has only become popular in the last thirty years, the origins of this hymn go back to the last century; to the majestic hills and valleys of Sweden. It was there, around 1885, that the Reverend Carl Boberg, a well known Lutheran minister wrote the original, stirring words.

Interestingly enough the Reverend Mr. Boberg's talents stretched not only to preaching and poetry. He also had political abilities for he served as a senator in the Swedish parliament for fifteen years.

In writing "How Great Thou Art", he was 'inspired', some would say, by the natural beauty of his homeland - especially after a summer thunderstorm. Arriving home he penned three verses on the same theme and entitled this new song "O Great God".

Over the years translations were made into German and Russian, and English; but the hymn never enjoyed the immense popularity which it does today.

However, In 1927, the Russian translation came into the hands of an English missionary couple, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart K. Hine, who were serving in the western Ukraine.

Mr. Hine sang it in Russian for a number of years and then translated three verses into English.

Surely he has vividly captured the original mood of the author with those words.

O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed,
Then sings my soul my Saviour Gad to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.

When the Second World War broke out, the Hines' returned to England bringing "How Great Thou Art" with them.

A fourth verse was added in 1948, and the next year the entire hymn appeared in a gospel magazine which Mr. Hine published. It was immediately popular and soon reprints were being requested by missionaries all over the world.

The final thrust which was to give "How Great Thou Art", the worldwide popularity it deserved came a few years later, in 1954 to be exact.

Through the good offices of Scottish publisher, Mr. Andrew Gray, a copy of Mr. Hines' leaflet carhe into the hands of the famous gospel singer George Beverly Shea.

It would appear that Bev. Shea fell in love with the piece immediately for he introduced it to the people of Toronto, Canada, at a crusade the next year; and then began to sing it regularly. In the New York Crusade if 1957, for example, it was sung a staggering 99 times.

No doubt the music also played a large part in making this hymn so popular with old and young. It really is something special and the simple two line melody of the beautiful tune is the perfect vehicle for those lovely words. One verse, more than all others, sums up the gospel message superbly:

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, scarce can take it in.
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
Then sings my soul my Saviour God to thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.


3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

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