How Great Thou Art


Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. Psalms 145:3

I was first introduced to Thou Great Thou Art as a 5-year old when my brother and I sang it in training union at Highland Park Baptist Church. The song had become very popular in America about six years before that as George Beverly Shea sang it many times in a weeks-long Billy Graham crusade in New York City.

The lyrics of the song present mental pictorials of God’s greatness. As good as the song is with that nothing out does the Book of Psalms. The greatness of God cannot be fully comprehended by mortal minds. As Psalms 145:3 says his greatness in unsearchable. Still, let me present some expressions of God’s greatness. God’s name is great. Psalms 76:1 says In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy. Psalms 99:3

His glory is great in thy salvation! Psalms 21:5 His strength and power are great. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Psalms 33.17 Further, Psalms 147:5 says Great is our Lord, and of great power. God is awesome King of earth. For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. Psalms 47:2

God’s name, glory, strength and power are above all but I am so glad that his mercy is also great. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Psalms 57:10 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. Psalms. 86:13 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalms 103:11 For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. Psalms 108:4 Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. Psalms 119:15 Where would I be, where would you be without God’s great mercy? The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. Psalms 145:8

And with his great mercy comes great goodness. Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee… Psalms 31:19 God has been so good to me. How about you? Will you one day join in the praise: They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. Psalms 145:7

What a comfort, because of God’s great mercy and great goodness we can have his great peace. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalms 119:165

In 1949 Stuart Hine, a missionary to the Ukraine wrote a verse of what became How Great Thou Art after several people were converted to Christ. His actual Biblical inspiration was John 3:16 (see my post on O Love That Will Not Let Me Go). Mr. Hine translated three verses from a Swedish folksong about God’s greatness adding them to his new rendition. The song soon spread abroad and less than ten years was one of the most recognized hymns sung in America.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Chorus: Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

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One Response to How Great Thou Art

  1. Pingback: George Beverly Shea, In Memory | Hymns in My Heart

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