What are the lyrics to “How Great Thou Art” and what is the story?

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February 16, 2022, 3:53 PM

Chittlehampton Church, North Devon.

Photo: Aliyah


The Christian anthem has its roots in Sweden and has since traveled around the world.

“How Great Thou Art” is a Christian hymn that began life as a poem set to a Swedish melody.

The poem, ‘O Store Gud’ (O Great God), was written by Swedish poet and lay minister, Carl Boberg, in 1885. According to hymnologist J. Irving Erickson, the poem is inspired by a sudden violent storm . in which Boberg was caught on his way home from church.

After the storm subsided and Boberg returned home, he opened his window and looked out to sea. The evening was calm and Boberg could hear the sound of church bells. It is these sights and sounds that inspired the lyrics of “O Store Gud”.

The lyrics were set to a traditional Swedish folk song and were first sung in a church in 1888, three years after the poem was written.

As the anthem’s popularity grew, the lyrics began to spread across the world. British missionary Stuart K. Hine translated the lyrics into English. His translation was actually made from Russian lyrics, which were a translation of German lyrics, which were a translation of the original Swedish lyrics.

Hine also added two original verses to the 1949 translation, which still appear in the lyrics today.

Read more: What are the words to the British anthem “Abide with Me”?

What are the lyrics to “How Great Thou Art”?

O Lord my God, when I am in awesome wonder
Consider all the works your hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the roll of thunder,
Your power across the universe is on display!

So sing my soul, my Savior God, to You;
How big you are, how big you are!
So sing my soul, my Savior God, to You;
How big you are, how big you are!

When through woods and glades I wander
And hear the birds sing softly in the trees,
When I look down from the high grandeur of the mountain
And hear the stream and feel the gentle breeze,

So sing my soul, my Savior God, to You;
How big you are, how big you are!
So sing my soul, my Savior God, to You;
How big you are, how big you are!

And when I think that God, His Son does not spare,
I sent him to die, I can barely understand him –
That on the cross, willingly bearing my burden,
He bled and died to take away my sin!

So sing my soul, my Savior God, to You;
How big you are, how big you are!
So sing my soul, my Savior God, to You;
How big you are, how big you are!

When Christ comes with a cry of acclamation
And take me home, what joy will fill my heart!
So I will bow in humble worship
And proclaim there, my God, how great you are!

So sing my soul, my Savior God, to You;
How big you are, how big you are!
So sing my soul, my Savior God, to You;
How big you are, how big you are!

Who performed “How Great Thou Art”?

There have been over 1,700 documented recordings of “How Great Thou Art”.

It has been named the favorite anthem of at least three of the Presidents of the United States and featured in major films and television programs.

The song has also been covered by notable performers including Pentatonix and Jennifer Hudson in 2017, and country artist Carrie Underwood.

In 1967, Elvis Presley also recorded the anthem as the title track of his second gospel album. how tall you are which won him two Grammy Awards.

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