How Great Thou Art — 1 Popular Christian Anthem (Story Behind the Hymn)

How Great Thou Art is a world-renowned hymn written by Carl Gustav Boberg, a Swedish poet in 1885. It describes God’s wondrous work of creation and declares His infinite love and greatness. Let us sing along with the lyrics given below. The unknown story behind the hymn will inspire your faith and challenge you to a deeper walk with Christ.

Table of Contents

The Song

How Great Thou Art Lyrics

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder, 
Consider all the worlds 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 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! 

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.

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 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!”

Repeat Chorus

Additional Stanza

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.

Brief Biography of the Author and Story Behind the Hymn

how great thou art, how great thou art hymn, how great thou art hymn lyrics
Carl Gustav Boberg (August 16, 1859 – January 7, 1940)

Carl Gustav Boberg was born on August 16, 1859, in the Southern Swedish town of Mönsterås. He was the son of a carpenter and worked briefly as a seaman and woodwork teacher. He was a lay minister in the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden, an evangelical free church. He was a great orator and editor of a Christian newspaper, Sanningsvittnet (Witness of the Truth).

He became a member of the Riksdag, the national legislature and the supreme decision-making body of Sweden. He published more than 60 poems, gospel songs, and hymns.

The inspiration for the poem “O Store Gud” (O Great God) came when Carl Boberg was walking towards his home after a meeting in a church near Kronobäck, Sweden.

It was a hot, sultry afternoon when suddenly a violent storm broke, lightning flashed, and strong winds swept over the meadows and fields of grain. The rain came in cool streaming showers. However, just as it suddenly occurred, the storm was over and subsided to a peaceful calm. The sun broke through, and a rainbow appeared.

When Boberg arrived home, he saw the bay of Mönsterås lay like a mirror, and he heard the song of a thrush (soft-plumaged, medium-sized bird) in the woodlands and the sound of the church bells. Moved by this series of sights, sounds, and beauty of nature, Boberg wrote the poem “O Store Gud” with nine verses in humble adoration of his Mighty God.

The Mönsterås Tidningen (Mönsterås News) first published the poem in 1886. He did not write any music to the poem, but it was matched to an old Swedish folk tune. British Methodist missionary Stuart Keene Hine translated four verses of the hymn in 1949 and made his arrangement of the melody. Hine’s version of “O Store Gud” (How Great Thou Art) became very popular worldwide.

For more awesome Christian Music check our Hymns Collection. You will find the background stories behind the hymns very interesting and informative. Sing along with the lyrics understanding the meaning of each song and fill your heart with joy.

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