The Story Behind How Great Thou Art
Stuart K. Hine was a Bristish Methodist missionary on a mission trip in Ukraine in 1931 when he heard the Russian translation of a German song inspired by Carl Boberg's poem "O Store Gud" (O Great God). Hine began to translate the song to English and added several verses. The third verse was inspired by the conversion of villagers in Russia who cried out to God loudly as the repented and realized God's love and mercy - "And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in."
Stuart Hine and his family left Ukraine as famine and World War Two began, and settled in Somerset, Britain, where he continued to serve as a missionary to Polish refugees. The forth verse of "How Great Thou Art" was inspired by displaced Russians who experienced great loss and looked forward to seeing their loved ones again in heaven - "When Christ shall come with shoult of acclamation to take me home, what joy shall fill my heart."
The final English version of "How Great Thou Art" was published in 1949 and quickly spread among Britian, Africa, India, and America.
Biblical Inspiration for "How Great Thou Art"
"For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him." (Colossians 1:16)
"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." (Psalm 90:2)
"Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!" (Psalm 105:2)