Classic Hymns - How Great Thou Art - Lyrics and History on Church.org
Lyrics to the classic Christian hymn, “How Great Thou Art”, written by Carl Boberg:
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 see 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 then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Listen to the Song

The History of “How Great Thou Art” Hymn

“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!”

More likely than not, one has heard these lines in and out of churches around the globe. It is of course the popular Christian song, “How Great Thou Art”. But where did this song really come from? What inspired the author to write it? Let’s have a look.
This popular hymn of praise begins with Carl Gustav Boberg (1859-1940), a Swedish poet born in Monsteras, Kalmar County in Smaland. He was a sailor for some time, and then became a lay minister. He was a member of the Swedish Parliament from 1912 to 1931. As a poet, he has written over 60 poems, hymns and gospel songs.
At the age of 26 (1885), coming from an afternoon church service with his friends, they saw a thundercloud in the horizon followed shortly by lightning flashes. Suddenly, a strong storm emerged but it was over in a short while; then a rainbow appeared. When Boberg reached home, he opened his window and saw the clear bay of Monstreals; and heard the song af a thrush from the woods, as well as the church bells tolling. This inspired him to write the very first version of the song—the poem, “O Store Gud” (O Great God), that evening.
The poem was published in 1891 in Witness of the Truth, the weekly newspaper where Boberg was editor. The poem was matched to an old Swedish folk tune and was eventually sung in public. In 1907, it was translated into German by Manfred von Glehn, a wealthy Baltic German Baptist nobleman. In 1912, it was translated into Russian having produced by Ivan S. Prokhanov (1869-1935), deemed as the “Martin Luther King of Russia”.

From “O Mighty God” to “How Great Thou Art”: How the Hymn Grew with English Versions

The first English translation of “O Store Gud” was by E. Gustav Johnson (1893-1974). His translation of some of the verses (1,2,7,8,9) was published as “O Mighty God” in the US in 1925.
In 1949, British Methodist missionary Stuart K. Hine translated the song after hearing its Russian version while on an evangelistic mission in Ukraine. He became so inspired while listening to the song that he created his own English translation and selected the title that we now know – “How Great Thou Art”. He also rewrote some verses in Russian and added more to the original 9 that Boberg wrote; having observed the devastation of World War I and II.
Hine finished composing the final verse in 1948, and completed his English translation the following year.
In 1954, Baptist Christian minister, hymn writer, professor and author J. Edwin Orr brought the song to the United States. He first heard the song in a small village in India and was impressed with the arrangement and harmony. He introduced it at the Forest Home Christian Conference Center in Southern California.
The song found its way to the song publishing company, Manna Music. Headed by founder Tim Spencer, Manna Music negotiated with Hine for the acquisition of the song. They changed a few words in the lyrics before releasing the final version that we sing and listen to now. According to Manna Music, “How Great Thou Art” is considered the most popular gospel song in the world.
The Manna Music version became the signature song of the Billy Graham Crusades. It became popular through George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows who sang it during the crusades.
At present, artists such as Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill have also collaborated to create their own rendition, as millions of other people all over the world continue to praise God with this “great” song.

Learn How to Play How Great Thou Art on Guitar

Are you interested in learning how to play How Great Thou Art on acoustic guitar? Check out this easy tutorial published by WorshipTutorials.com.