In the summer of 1934 Stuart K. Hine, a thirty four year old British missionary serving in a remote part of Eastern Europe, set out by bicycle to preach and distribute Bibles high up in the Carpathian Mountains.
As Stuart later wrote, “the thoughts of the first three verses of How Great Thou Art! were born, line by line, amid my unforgettable experiences in those mountains.”
The first and second verses were inspired partly by the Russian words of Prokhanoff’s hymn and partly by the ‘awesome wonder’ and beauty of God’s creation.
Verse three was written as a consequence of villagers expressing their amazement at hearing for the first time the revelation of God’s love.
In 1948, the grief and sorrow of refugees from Eastern Europe, separated from their loved ones, inspired Stuart to write verse four; a verse of hope for a future reunion in Heaven.
Kenneth Osbeck, the distinguished American hymnologist, had this to say:
“This great hymn teaches us three essential truths. The greatness of God’s creation; the greatness of Christ’s redemption and the greatness of our future inheritance.”
For information on the author, Stuart K. Hine, please visit our sister website: The Stuart Hine Trust CIO.