Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Story Behind How Great Thou Art

Carl Boberg, a young Swedish pastor, was inspired to write this poem in 1885 after he was caught in a sudden thunderstorm. The lightning flashed, the wind blew and the rain poured down. Once the storm had passed, the birds sang again.

Pastor Boberg never intended the poem to become a hymn. Imagine his surprise when he heard his poem being sung at a church service to the tune of a Swedish folk song.

The poem was translated into German and Russian. Stuart K. Hine and his wife, English missionaries to the Ukraine, heard the hymn sung in Russian and translated the three verses into English. Mr. Hine added the fourth verse upon his return to England upon the outbreak of WWII.

The hymn gained popularity when George Beverly Shea sang it almost nightly at the Billy Graham evangelistic crusades in the 1950s.

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