Scripture Verse

O Lord, how great are Thy works! Psalm 92:5


Carl G. Boberg (1859–1940)

Words: Stu­art K. Hine (1899–1989).

Music: How Great Thou Art Swed­ish folk me­lo­dy, adap­ted by Stu­art K. Hine (🔊 pdf nwc).

Stuart K. Hine (1899–1989)

Origin of the Hymn

In 1885, at age 26, Swed­ish preach­er Carl G. Bo­berg wrote the words of a po­em en­ti­tled O Store Gud. Sev­er­al years lat­er, Bo­berg at­tend­ed a meet­ing and was sur­prised to hear his po­em be­ing sung to an old Swed­ish me­lo­dy.

In the ear­ly 1920’s, Eng­lish mis­sion­ar­ies Stu­art K. Hine and his wife min­is­tered in Po­land. There they learned the Rus­sian ver­sion of Bo­berg’s poem, O Store Gud, cou­pled with the orig­in­al Swed­ish me­lo­dy.

Later, Hine wrote orig­in­al Eng­lish words and made his own ar­range­ment of the Swed­ish me­lo­dy, which be­came po­pu­lar and is now known as the hymn, How Great Thou Art.

The first three vers­es were in­spired, line up­on line, amidst un­for­get­ta­ble ex­pe­ri­enc­es in the Car­pa­thi­an Mount­ains. In a vil­lage to which he had climbed, Mr. Hine stood in the street sing­ing a Gos­pel Hymn and read­ing aloud, John, Chap­ter Three.

Among the sym­pa­the­tic list­en­ers was a lo­cal vil­lage school­mas­ter. A storm was gath­er­ing, and when it was evi­dent no fur­ther trav­el could be made that night, the friend­ly school­mas­ter of­fered his hos­pi­ta­li­ty.

Awe-in­spir­ing was the migh­ty thun­der ech­oing through the mount­ains, and it was this imp­res­sion that was to bring about the birth of the first verse.

Pushing on, Hine crossed the mount­ain fron­tier in­to Ro­ma­nia and in­to Bu­ko­vi­na. To­geth­er with some young peo­ple, through the woods and for­est glades he wan­dered, and heard the birds sing sweet­ly in the trees. Thus, the sec­ond verse came in­to be­ing.

Verse three was in­spired by the con­ver­sion of ma­ny Car­pa­thi­an mount­ain-dwellers. The fourth verse did not come about un­til Hine’s re­turn to Bri­tain.

George Be­ver­ly Shea and Cliff Bar­rows po­pu­la­rized the hymn dur­ing Bil­ly Gra­ham’s cru­sades.


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 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!

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!

Author’s orig­in­al words are works, migh­ty and shall I bow (Word chang­es ap­proved for use in North Am­eri­ca on­ly.)