How Great Thou Art

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.”

Psalm 145:3 KJV

One day in 1885, Carl Boberg was caught in a thunderstorm in his native Sweden. Looking around after the storm passed, Boberg became overwhelmed by the brightness of the sun and the sound of birds singing. In awe, he fell to his knees and gave thanks to God. To commemorate this unforgettable moment, he wrote a poem.

In the following years, this poem developed a life of its own. Boberg himself was surprised when he heard a congregation sing his poem to the tune of a Swedish folk song. Swedish immigrants later brought this song to America. In 1925, E. Gustav Johnson made the first English translation with the title “O Mighty God, When I Behold the Wonder.”

The hymn had also been translated into German, and then into Russian. In 1933, S.K. Hine and his wife heard this Russian version while serving in Ukraine. Moved, they decided to translate it into English. As they translated, they were inspired by the sight of the Carpathian mountains.

Hine published the hymn as “How Great Thou Art,” the name by which it became widely known. The story behind this hymn reminds us of the ways people have been affected by God’s greatness. Join people who seek to praise Him. Consider the world His hands have made. Think about the stars and the rolling thunder. Realize that His power is displayed throughout the universe.

Let your soul sing “How great Thou art!”


Father, I am overwhelmed by Your greatness. Thank you for giving me life and for sending Jesus to take away my sin. In Jesus’ name, amen.