"How Great Thou Art" has been voted the United Kingdom's favourite hymn by BBC's Songs of Praise. The hymn was ranked second (after "Amazing Grace") on a list of the favourite hymns of all time in a survey by Today's Christian magazine in 2001.
"How Great Thou Art" begins as a poem written by Carl Gustaf Boberg (1859-1940). He was a Swedish pastor, editor, and member of the Swedish parliament. One day, while Boberg was enjoying a nice walk, a thunderstorm suddenly appeared out of nowhere. A severe wind began to blow. After the storm was over, Mr. Boberg looked out over the clear bay. He then heard a church bell in the distance. And the words to How Great Thou Art begin to form in his heart -- O Lord, my God, When I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands hath made. . .
This poem, titled O Store Gud (O Great God) was published in 1891 in Witness of the Truth, the weekly newspaper that Boberg edited. It was later translated in German. In 1927, it was published in a Russian version of the German text.
"How Great Thou Art" was translated by Stuart K. Hine, the English missionary to Ukraine. He found some version of the Russian text and sang it at an evangelistic meeting with his wife. He then translated the first three stanzas into English, which was sung at an evangelistic meeting in England during World War One. He published the first three verses (in both English and Russian) in 1949 in Grace and Peace, a Russian evangelistic paper which Hine edited. He later wrote the fourth verse as a triumphant message of life eternal.
Here are some exceptional gorgeous renditions of this great hymn, take a listen:
1. Carrie Underwood & Vince Gill:
2. Alan Jackson
3. Natalie Grant:
4. Lauren Daigle:
5. The Piano Guys: