How Great Thou Art

How great thou art

The hymn How Great Thou Art traveled a long road before it ended up a favorite edition to English hymnals. The original version was a poem written by a Swedish pastor, Reverend Carl Boberg in 1886, and entitled O Stor Gud. Boberg published the poem in his periodical Sanningsvittnet. Several years later he was surprised and delighted to hear his poem being sung by a church congregation, to the tune of an old Swedish folk melody.

Boberg’s poem was soon thereafter translated into German by Manfred von Glehn, who entitled it Wie gross bist Du. In 1925, an American Reverend E. Gustav Johnson translated the Swedish poem into an English version that is somewhat different than the one popular today. For instance, the first line of Johnson’s hymn reads Oh mighty God, when I behold the wonder..

In 1927, I.S. Prokanoff translated Glehn’s German version into Russian, to be enjoyed by that culture also. Throughout all of these translations, the original Swedish folk tune remained the same.

In 1933, English missionaries to the Ukraine, Reverend and Mrs. Stuart K. Hine heard the song for the first time, fell in love with it and sang it often throughout their missionary journeys. As they traveled the Carpathian Mountains, the couple was inspired by the incredible beauty to translate the first three verses of the song into English. When WWII broke out in 1939, the Hines returned to England carrying How Great Thou Art to its new home. After the war they wrote the fourth verse and arranged the original Swedish folk tune to be published in English hymnals.

In the 1950s, the song was copyrighted and widely published in America, becoming more and more popular. When George Beverly Shay and the Billy Graham gospel choir, directed by Cliff Barrows, began to sing the song at virtually every crusade event, How Great Thou Art soon became one of the most recognized songs around the world. It was also recorded by several popular artists, including Elvis Presley. A poll conducted by the Christian Herald magazine in 1974 named How Great Thou Art the most popular hymn in America.

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
consider all the works
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
the universe displayed

Chorus :

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

And When I think, of 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
Chorus

When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
With humble adoration
And then proclaim My God
How great Thou art
Chorus

Watch and listen β€œHow Great Thou Art β€œLive concert from Royal Albert Hall, London

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBLRsUMtuFQ&list=RD02dBLRsUMtuFQ

Karina

Photo credit: keypoulanmusic.com

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19 thoughts on “How Great Thou Art

  1. I am blessed every time I hear that song…no matter who sings. Thanks for sharing facts about it’s origin that I didn’t know!

    Like

    • Hi there
      You are welcome.yes me too:) what a great hymn song ever. Oh by the way thank you for following my blog. I really appreciate it. Will follow you as well πŸ™‚ May God Bless your wonderful day.
      Karina

      Like

  2. This favorite was popular in congregational churches when I was a young girl. Now it is a classic and sung world wide. The chorus sung in Hawaiian is beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

    Like

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