October 22

“How Great Thou Art:” Twentieth Century’s Most Beloved Hymn

Can anyone of us completely describe God’s wondrous works? Most probably not. The truth is God’s actions are too immense for the human’s limited knowledge to fathom. But in our simple ways, we can, at any time, praise and adore His greatness. That’s how the words to the timeless hymn “How Great Thou Art” were conceived. It all began when the author Carl Gustav Boberg experienced something bizarre during a normal day.

Boberg was enjoying a nice walk when, out of nowhere, a thunderstorm appeared all of a sudden. An unadorned wind then began to blow. Shortly, the storm passed, and the surrounding became tranquil. When Boberg looked over the clear bay, he heard a church bell ring from a distance. At that very moment, the words to the hymn “How Great Thou Art” started to form in his heart.


The Man Who Helped Introduce “How Great Thou Art”

Do you know that one of the first few people to introduce “How Great Thou Art” to the world once had a troubled life? That is right, folks! The singer of “Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild Wild Women” Tim Spencer was the man behind it. Spencer was a member of the famous group Sons of the Pioneers, and he embodied the title of his song. He was married to a Christian woman named Velma, and she incessantly prayed for him while on the road.

While in a hotel in Hazelton, Pennsylvania one day, Spencer read a letter from his wife. With it a Biblical passage. He grabbed a Gideon Bible on the table and began reading the verse of Scripture. Suddenly, he realized his life needed a change. The next thing he did is pray and surrender himself to the Lord.

He later put up a Gospel Music publishing company called Manna Music. One day, his son brought him a song from a student missionary conference. That song happened to be the English version of “How Great Thou Art.” Upon knowing who the author was, Spencer wasted no time. He contacted Stuart Hine who translated the lyrics from Russian to English and published the song.

Today, the beautiful hymn continues to charm millions of people across the world. With it, they honor and glorify God for who He is – the Creator of the universe.

Listen to a moving rendition of the beloved hymn “How Great Thou Art” below.

Did this piece make your day?

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Carl Gustav Boberg, Distant Church Bell, how great thou art, Stuart Hine, Tim Spencer

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