As we usher in the Chinese New Year, it is a tradition for us to greet one another with our best wishes, desiring that each person may find joy and success in the New Year. Let us examine three common greetings used by the Chinese in Singapore and evaluate them from a biblical perspective.

恭喜发财 (Gong Xi Fa Cai, Wishing You Wealth)

In the eyes of the world, wealth = money. Thus, the word “cai” used in this greeting is understood by most to mean fortune and material prosperity. However, true wealth to the Christian is not material but spiritual prosperity. God our Father has already “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” We are chosen by the Father, purchased by the Son and sealed by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:3-14). We are God’s very own. We are made rich in God (Proverbs 10:22).

年年有馀 (Nian Nian You Yu, Surplus and Abundance Year After Year)

The world worries about bread-and-butter issues. There never seems to be enough money. (Incidentally, the film “Money No Enough” is in her third iteration. What does this tell you about society?) Thus, there is a fervent desire that every year should be a year of abundance and surplus. However, once a man reaches his goal, the goal posts soon moves and he covets for more. His greed knows no bounds.

As for Christians, is it not true that we have a Wonderful Shepherd in whom we have no want? (Psalm 23:1) In Christ, we find our sins forgiven and eternal life. The spiritual poverty of our soul is satisfied in our Saviour. He is our all in all. For the Christian, it is not just 年年有馀 but abundance in our Saviour for all eternity.

心想事成, 万事如意 (Xin Xiang Shi Cheng, Wan Shi Ru Yi)
May Your Heart’s Desire Come Through

This seemingly innocuous greeting can be extremely deadly, for the Scripture declares that the heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) If this saying is followed through, will it not mean that all of man’s sinful desires will be realised and fulfilled?

Nevertheless, a Christian’s heart is made pure by Christ and if He walks in the Spirit who indwells him, his heart should be in line with that of God’s. In such cases, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:4-5)

May the Lord grant all of us wisdom, even as we wish one another a successful year for the Lord Jesus Christ.


I struggle to find suitable decorations for the home every Chinese New Year because almost every decoration has superstitious connotations. However, this year, my mother came across some Chinese New Year decorations based on sayings from the Scriptures. She quickly purchased them for me as a gift. The set of CNY decorations read, “主赐宏恩,荣耀归主 ” (God showers us with His amazing grace, to God be the glory).

I was overjoyed to receive the gift, more than any ang pow. It is the best Chinese New Year gift ever, as it presents us with an invaluable opportunity to praise God and witness for Christ during Chinese New Year. It goes straight to the front door as a testimony of truth to the whole world.

May the Lord also grant us many opportunities to praise Christ this Chinese New Year season and throughout the whole year.

“Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.” (Deuteronomy 10:20-21)

Blessed Chinese New Year to all.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew