Scripture Verse

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


Carl G. Boberg

Words: Stu­art K. Hine (1899–1989).

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

Stuart K. Hine

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 1920s, 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.

The hymn was po­pu­lar­ized by George Be­ver­ly Shea and Cliff Bar­rows during Billy Gra­ham 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.)