How Great Thou Art

<< the hymn and its history >>

In 1974 this hymn was named as one of the most popular hymns in America, but it started out as a simple and short Swedish poem. The author, Carl Boberg, was surprised one day to hear it sung by a congregation to the tune of an old Swedish folksong. The poem has been translated into many different languages, but they were all different than the song we sing today.

In 1933 Ukraine missionaries, Reverend and Mrs. Hine heard the song and fell in love with it. As they traveled in the country they were inspired to translate it into English. They returned to Britian when World War 2 broke out, wrote the fourth verse, transcribed the same folksong it began with, and had it published in English hymnals.

It wasn't, however, until Billy Graham began playing it regularly in his crusades that it became more popular.

<< the hymn and me >>

There is something powerful about this song. There is something about these words which stir my soul, and often bring a tear to my eye. It's like singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" at the throne of God. I remember singing this song so many times, but I always loved it when the music leader would slow the fourth verse down as we sang it. "When Christ shall come.... with shout of acclamation....... And take me home..... what joy shall fill my heart!" Wait for it.... "Then I shall bow...... in humble adoration," breathe, "And there proclaim..... my God how great thou art!" And then the entire congregation would sing the chorus loud and from their heart. Or that's how it always felt to me.

<< the 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 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!"

Words by Carl Boberg

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