In Loving Memory of Dr. Bobby Sng (1936⁠–2019)

IN LOVING MEMORY OF DR BOBBY SNG

1936–2019

"And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;
and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
— Daniel 12:3 (ESV)


Our beloved advisor and former President, Dr Bobby Sng, was called home to be with the Lord on 14 October 2019.

Leaving for missions only a year after graduating as a doctor, his life of 83 years was lived to the fullest for God as he served in many different ministerial capacities. In fact, he was on the committee which headed the Billy Graham Crusade in 1978, which was a defining chapter in the local Christian history for sparking revival in the local Church.

He was also a prolific author, having written many staples in Singaporean Christian literature. Some prominent titles—published by The Bible Society of Singapore—are ‘Changing Times, Unchanging Word’, ‘In His Good Time’, ‘Listen to Him! The Last Word of Jesus from the Cross’, ‘The Story of the Old Testament’, ‘The Story of the Church’, and ‘The Story of Jesus’.

As the President of The Bible Society of Singapore from 2002—2012, Dr Sng spearheaded the shift towards regional holistic missions that has heavily contributed to Singapore serving its call of being the Antioch of Asia.

In his own words, Dr Sng wrote, “It is my privilege to have been part of this emerging generation. Converted in the late 40s, nurtured in the Varsity Christian Fellowship in the mid-50s, and commencing an active ministry in the early 60s, I have never regretted embarking on this journey. It was a journey that has taken me from ministering in a rural church in Malaysia to engaging with students in tertiary institutions, from preaching to congregations in Singapore to addressing robust campus groups across the cities of Asia.”

“[The Christian community] is a thriving community, attracting worshippers from different ethnic groups, it is also actively engaged in community service and mission outreach. The Gospel has endowed us with a compelling message—love for God and love for our neighbours. The post-War generation of believers, most of whom hailed from non-Christian homes, have sought to remain faithful to God’s Word, addressing issues as they have arisen. But, our journey has not ended. New issues and challenges will present themselves and these must be met. May the coming years witness a new generation of believers who are equally determined to present God’s unchanging Word in changing times.”

Dr Sng was an inspiration to many local Christian leaders for his great passion and zeal for God, especially Rev Ezekiel Tan, General Secretary of The Bible Society of Singapore—who was mentored by Dr Sng.

“He was an anointed Bible teacher and preacher; what impacted me most about him was not his knowledge of the Word of God, but how he lived it out. His life was that of a godly role model. As my mentor, his wise words and fruitful ministry have shaped my life greatly. It was truly a privilege to have served alongside him while he was president of The Bible Society of Singapore.” — Rev Ezekiel Tan

“He has fought the good fight and gone to glory. May we all humbly follow his example, and keep serving his Master and ours until the Lord returns.” — Dr Ernest Chew, Honorary Chair of the National Museum of Singapore

Remembering Dr Bobby Sng—A Video Tribute


Dr Bobby Sng's oral history interview with the National Archives of Singapore is available here


 

Wake and Funeral Details

Wake starts from

11.00am – 10.00pm on 16 October 2019 (Wed)

11.00am – 10.00pm on 17 October 2019 (Thu)

11.00am – 2.00pm on 18 October 2019 (Fri)

Wake services

16 Oct (Wed) & 17 Oct (Thu): 8.00pm

Funeral service

18 Oct (Fri): 1.30pm

Wake and Funeral services Venue:

The Christian Assembly Hall, 17 Wilkie Terrace, Singapore 228029

Cremation service

18 Oct (Fri): 3.30pm – 4.00pm

Venue: Mandai Crematorium Hall 04

*Cortege leaves from Wake at 2.30pm for Mandai Crematorium Hall 04

More details of the wake can be found here

TRIBUTES FROM MINISTRY PARTNERS & FRIENDS

Bobby and I entered the university at the same but he to study medicine, I to study arts. We were both in the Varsity Christian Fellowship. However he was drawn to medical missions and after graduation and a year in a hospital, he went with his wife Ivy to the Cameron Highlands where he supported himself by setting up a clinic and also began a church which is still there today, very strong and active. His three children were born there but they returned to Singapore for their schooling. He carried his mission work by serving fulltime with the Fellowship of Evangelical Students. He was the one who challenged me to be the founding chairman of St.Luke’s Hospital. By then I had become general secretary of the bible society of Singapore. I invited him to join the committee, and he became president in 2002.

His first love was the bible and he gave the society the privilege of printing his collection of bible stamps. God’s Word was preached in the stamps printed in many parts of the world which he meticulously collected. Besides advising and guiding students, he also preached. Twice he spoke at my home in the university: one was on making the mind captive to God and the second was on keeping one’s lifestyle simple. He obeyed both injunctions and was a role model of simple and sincere life as a Christian.

I served under him as bible society president which he continued when Khay Tham succeeded me as general secretary. Under his leadership, Bible House was rebuilt. Many gave generously because he was the president. Ezekiel Tan also served under him. Truly he has been our bible society leader. I am indebted to him for teaching me many lessons in how to preach effectively and write too. His “In his good time” book is a must for all seminary students on the history of the church in Singapore. The society also published another two books written by him.

It is challenging to follow in his footsteps but his example gives me the confidence to do so for he was always willing to help others. He was a man of few but effective words. He said that he was not used to writing as he was a medical doctor but that made him even more effective because of his wise choice of words. I look forward to re-reading what he has written to inspire me to serve our Lord Jesus Christ even better.

— Dr. Lee Soon AnnPresident of The Bible Society of Singapore

 

He has fought the good fight and gone to glory. May we all humbly follow his example, and keep serving his Master and ours until the Lord returns.
— Dr Ernest ChewHonorary Chair of the National Museum of Singapore

 

He was an anointed Bible teacher and preacher; what impacted me most about him was not his knowledge of the Word of God, but how he lived it out. His life was that of a godly role model. As my mentor, his wise words and fruitful ministry have shaped my life greatly. It was truly a privilege to have served alongside him while he was president of The Bible Society of Singapore.
— Rev Ezekiel TanGeneral Secretary of The Bible Society of Singapore

 

If you have any testimonies or tributes of Dr Bobby Sng please email us at comms@bible.org.sg


 

Testimonials

I remember Dr Bobby Sng with fond memories of his signature smile, humble spirit, faithfulness to teaching the Word of God, always encouraging others especially those of us who are much younger than him in full-time Christian service and most gracious attitude. When he was the plenary speaker at a past Scripture Union East & West Asia Regional Conference held at The Mint Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, West Malaysia and there was a shortage of water and therefore air-conditioning was done to the minimum, toilet facilities were very inconvenient, there was not a word of complaint or sign of frustration/disgust from Dr Sng. He carried on preaching God's Word just the same! That has left a great impact not only in me but also the conference participants. Thank God for such Christlike servant of God.

David Leong

I am proud of his life and legacy toward the Church history and Bible Ministry in and from Singapore. May God raise such great but humble God fearing leader in our generation.

Khoi Lam Thang
The Bible Society of Myanmar

Dr Bobby Sng was a man of God, a full time missionary who served God faithfully till the very end. He is with the Lord now! I remembered his works during my VCF days in NUS 30 years ago. Thank God for man like him.

Diana Kwok

孙耀光医生是天父赐给新加坡教会的特别礼物。孙医生一生让主使用,不但祝福了大专学生福音工作,也在多方面事工长期祝福新加坡的教会。他所结的丰实果子不只在英语教会社体非常明显,在华文教会中也到处开花结果。今天新加坡华文教会的众多教牧与信徒领袖确实离不开他多年的耕耘。笔者早在五十多年前便得益他领导的“前线小组”,这些年来更在不同事工上得着他多方的启发与激励。 孙医生为新加坡教会撰写了激发心灵的史记。他的释经讲道成为多人传讲信息的楷模。他的敬虔生活、殷勤事奉、处世待人谦逊宽宏配得我们效法。让我们在感谢天父的同时,以具体的计划来纪念孙医生。

李宗高牧师
(基督徒学生福音团契(华文)首任主席,圣经公会华文事工委员会主席)

I have collected many of his books and writings to understand the Christian missions from the local, indigenous eyes in British Malaya/Independent Malaysia as well as Singapore since the early 1990s. I remember one of his books entitled "In His Good Time" has been quoted by other researchers many a time. I appreciate his fruitful, dedicated work. Please rest in peace.

Ikuko Tsunashima-Miyake

I visited Cameron Highlands in the recent years.  I was at a hair-salon.  The hairdresser shared with me how she come to know the Lord through the ministry of Dr Sng in the 1960s.

Patricia Lee

Eulogy & Tribute delivered by Rev Ezekiel Tan, General Secretary of BSS 

(At Dr Bobby Sng’s Wake Service at Wilkie Terrace Christian Assembly on 16 October 2019.)

A Student leader. Medical doctor. Missionary. Shepherd. Bible Teacher. Preacher. Theologian.  Mentor. Social activist.  Church historian. Christian statesman. Gentle spiritual giant.  Servant of God. The late Dr Bobby Sng played many roles in his decades of ministry.

Although he did not receive any formal training in seminary, he was well sought after for his theological reflections. Although he was not an ordained minister, he had shepherded many pastors and leaders. Although he was a member of a non-denominational church, he was greatly respected by bishops and senior leadership across all denominations. Dr Bobby Sng was truly an extraordinary and exemplary follower of Christ!

In ancient times, priests were called the “cure of the soul”. Dr Bobby Sng was not only a medical doctor who administered medical treatment to those with physical ailments, he was also a physician of the soul—who had brought many to eternal salvation, and had helped restore many to spiritual wellness.

I have known Dr Bobby Sng for more than twenty years. And I was greatly privileged to have been mentored by him, and to have served under his leadership while he was the President of The Bible Society of Singapore.  He had served for decades on the board of the Bible Society. From 2002–2012, he served as our President, and thereafter, he continued to contribute towards the Bible Mission as our Advisor to the Board—until he was promoted to glory and returned to the Author and Finisher of his faith.

As much as I have greatly benefited from the leadership skills, biblical knowledge and ministry values that he imparted to me, I was most impacted by his deep spirituality.  St Paul exhorts the Corinthian Christians (1:11), “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Dr Bobby Sng was such a Godly role model—the most Christ-like leader I’ve personally had the honour of knowing. He truly imitated Christ in all that he did.

His humility and spirituality was not only evidenced in public areas, but they were especially visible in the private moments I shared with him. There were many seemingly insignificant encounters that I had with him—day-to-day experiences. These moments, however, have left an important impact upon me. Do allow me to relate some of these anecdotes with you.

While he was the President—and I was the General Secretary designate of the The Bible Society of Singapore—he would meet me privately on a monthly basis. Whenever we arranged for a meeting—despite my objections—he would insist that he take a bus to come to Bible House to meet me, instead of me going to his residence. Even though he was my boss and such a great figure in the Christian community.  Thankfully, he did allow me to drive him back home.

During each of these meet-ups—beyond receiving a monthly report of the activities and events we were engaged in as a Society—he was always more interested in learning how he could support me in succeeding in my role.

Even after he had stepped down as President, we would continue to meet up—though not as regularly. Each time—without fail—he would make sure to enquire about my well-being: whether I was coping well and if there was anything he could do to support me. Time spent with him was always deeply edifying—he never failed to generously affirm me in my work. Dr Bobby Sng has been such a pillar of support—and his unfailing encouragement has given me confidence to pursue bold initiatives and changes, in order that we may be more effective and extensive in our Bible Missions.

For many years, I had repeatedly encouraged him to pen an autobiography of his ministry life.  He would always decline.  He would reiterate that he saw no merit in writing about himself and did not believe in glorifying his achievements.  He would be more interested in making Jesus known.  Only in his late 70s, at my insistence of leaving behind his spiritual legacy to inspire the future generations, that he reluctantly agreed to publish his collection of sermons tracing the stages of his ministry journey in proclaiming His Lord and Savior.  The title of this book is ‘Changing Times, Unchanging Word.’ I have brought 200 copies of this publication, which is probably the last that Dr Bobby Sng—a prolific Christian author and beloved Christian statesman—authored, to be given out tonight for you to remember him, the inspiration and beacon of our generation.

In Philippians 1:23-24, St Paul lovingly related to the church in Philippi:

“I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.”

Several times I had the privilege to meet up with our saintly Dr Bobby Sng after his hospitalization. Knowing that his life journey here on earth was coming to an end, almost every time, he would echo the words of St Paul that he was ready and eager to meet Jesus.  He was so certain of the eternity that awaits him. He was so confident of the destiny beyond this temporal dwelling place.

Like St Paul, Dr Bobby Sng has fought the good fight, he has finished the race, he has kept the faith. (2 Tim 4:7) And He has now gone to be with His Lord in this final destination of his earthly pilgrimage.  The legacy he has left will always be an inspiration to me—and to the many others he impacted—to live lives fully and wholly for Christ.

In fact, when I informed the Board of the Bible Society on the passing of our dearly beloved leader, one of them—the Rev Canon Louis Tay—quoted a Bible verse in tribute to this great servant of God, that encapsulates the unending impact his life will have.

(Daniel 12:3) "And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like stars forever and ever.”  Truly, the life of Dr Bobby Sng counts for eternity!

My deepest condolences to the family of Dr Bobby Sng—his beloved life companion Mrs Ivy Sng, his daughters (Jen Hwei, Li Hwei and Ming Hwei), his sons-in-law (Nicholas Merrow-Smith, Mak Koon Hou and Francis Lee) and his six grandchildren (Daniel, Joshua, James, Claire, Esther & Grace).

Our heartfelt gratitude to you—for sacrificially sharing your beloved husband, father and grandfather with the larger Christian family.  Your lost time with him allowed for him to be a fatherly figure to us, and that time has enriched many many lives—both the young and old.  We are forever indebted to you.

Good bye, Dr Bobby Sng—my spiritual father, my leadership guru, my beloved mentor. Though you are no longer on this side of eternity, you will always live on in our collective memories. And one day, we shall meet again.