A news article published by ChannelNewsAsia on 16 August 2022 reported on
the FIRE movement gaining significant traction among young adults in
Singapore. What is the FIRE movement? And should Christians join the FIRE

The term “FIRE” is actually an acronym for “Financial Independence, Retire
Early”. This movement encourages its adherents to sprint towards early
retirement by “meticulous planning, extreme frugality and common sense
investing”. According to the report, adherents of the movement aim to save 70
percent or more of their income. In fact, the “holy grail is to save 25 times one’s
annual expenses and make 4 per cent annual withdrawals for living
expenditures.” This money will then be invested in the hope that one’s savings
will grow exponentially to the point where the interest or dividends paid from
one’s savings and investments will pay off for life’s expenses. When one has
reached this goal, it is said that he has achieved financial independence and may
choose to retire early.

Ironically, this trend that was already on the rise before COVID-19, caught fire
(pun intended) recently due to mass financial insecurity caused by high inflation
and subdued growth. Others hopped onto the FIRE movement because they
wanted to pursue a passion in life rather than be “handcuffed” to a tasteless
stressful job. According to the article, the FIRE movement gave them an
opportunity to answer the question, “If money was not an issue, what would you

The FIRE movement may seem attractive on paper. However, should Christians
participate in this movement?

There are deep problems with the FIRE movement that does not square with the
teaching of Scripture. The main issue is how money is regarded as the goal of
one’s life, especially during the accumulation phase. This is done to the point
where money becomes an idol in life. The Scripture plainly warns, “No man can
serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he
will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and
mammon.” (Matt. 6:24)

The irony of the situation is that in the pursuit of making money work for us, we
end up being slaves of money. At the end of everything, we find that the pursuit
is meaningless. According to the report, many practitioners of the FIRE
movement end up being disgruntled and having no satisfaction in their lives.
Some continue to worry about money even after they have achieved financial
independence. They have experienced what the Preacher lamented in
Ecclesiastes 2:11, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought,
and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and
vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” (Eccl. 2:11) All life
under the sun without God in the picture is ultimately futile and pointless.

Moreover, the extreme frugality practiced by advocates often results in a miserly
spirit. They become isolationistic and have little impact on the people around
them. You cannot count on them for help if it involves a significant loss of their
money. On the other hand, the Scripture teaches that Christian ought to support
the weak and that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) The
resources that we have are meant to be used in the promotion of God’s kingdom,
and to be a blessing for others. When we are misers, we become like a useless
dried-up spring. We cannot be the channels of blessing which the Lord has called
us to be.

Lastly, adherents of the FIRE movement make every decision based on personal
financial sense. Does it benefit me financially? Then it is good. Does it cause me
to lose money? It is bad. Many adherents even declared that they will not get
married, or if they get married, not to have a child because it will prevent them
from reaching their financial goals.
However, the Bible teaches us that all our decisions should be made based on
what Christ teaches and whether it promotes the glory of God. The Apostle Paul
declares, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) In 1
Corinthians 10:31, Paul proclaims, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or
whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)
It will do us well as Christians to heed the teaching of Christ in Matthew 6:33-
34, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these
things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for
the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is
the evil thereof.” It is fine to be organised in our finances, but our trust must not
be in riches but in God for our provisions. Our sufficiency is in Christ. “And God
is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all
sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8).

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement


Dear Pastor, I have read somewhere that Acts 26:28 can be translated as “Are you trying to
convert me to be a Christian?” I am wondering if this is right. Thank you.

The issue is caused by different readings found in the Greek words underlying the King
James Version (KJV) and the corrupt critical text from which modern English versions are
translated from.

The Greek words from which Acts 26:28 in the KJV is translated from is as follows:

ὁ δὲ Ἀγρίππας πρὸς τὸν Παῦλον ἔφη, Ἐν ὀλίγῳ με πείθεις Χριστιανὸν γενέσθαι. (SCR)

On the other hand, the Greek words of Acts 26:28 in the critical text is as follows:

ὁ δὲ Ἀγρίππας πρὸς τὸν Παῦλον· ἐν ὀλίγῳ με πείθεις Χριστιανὸν ποιῆσαι. (NA27)

The problem lies in the last Greek word. In the Greek Textus Receptus (i.e. SCR), it reads
γενέσθαι (genestai). The critical text (i.e. NA27) has ποιῆσαι (poiesai). Genestai can be
translated as “to be, to become”. However for poiesai, it can also have the meaning of not
only “to become” but also “to make or do”.

With this in mind, the translation of the Greek TR would be “in a little, you persuade me to
be a Christian.” On the other hand, the translation in the critical text would be “in a little,
you persuade to make me a Christian.”

The commentary you have read is likely based on the critical text. Thus, the commentator
translated Acts 26:28 as, “Are you trying to convert me to be a Christian?” This translation
must be rejected as it is based on the corrupt Greek text.

Editors’ Note: The above shows that the use of modern Bible versions is not
inconsequential. It can result in wholly different (and wrong) interpretations of the text.
Sadly, many commentaries used the corrupt critical Greek text and modern Bible
translations. We are thankful to God for the diligence of this member who made sure what
she read was correct. May we all continue to be “Berean” Christians (Acts 17:10-11).