None Greater- A Book Review

A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us (Knowledge of the Holy, 9).” John Calvin stated, “Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty (Institutes, 1.1.3).” I would like to add, “what we believe about God will directly affect how we live our lives.”

Matthew Barrett, associate professor of Christian Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written his book None Greater with the conviction that each attribute of God is key to each and every other attribute of God (10). Moreover, Barrett is “convinced that we can only understand God’s attributes in all their glory if such attributes originate from one core conviction: God is someone than whom no greater can be conceived (10).

None Greater is a theological work that outlines the perfections of God as seen in His attributes. This book is a wealth of knowledge. However, as Barrett states, “our goal is not to walk away with mere knowledge. Rather, this knowledge of God is meant to lead us into worship (14).” We see this in the truth of Scripture. As someone once said, “the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us more like the Son of God.” Our doctrine should always lead to devotion. A right knowledge of God should lead to right worship of God.

I have read many systematic theologies. In fact, I am currently working on my own work, outlining a theology of God. This is a subject that I am passionate about in my life. I approached this book as a textbook. However, I quickly found myself absorbed with the majesty of the God that I serve. This book quickly turned from a textbook into devotional reading. Barrett consistently exalts the God of the Bible throughout the pages of this book. One of the reasons that I loved this work so much, was that the author wrote in a way for the modern reader to easily understand. Throughout my studies of older theologians, I have had to wrestle through older english, in order to understand the meaning that the authors intended. No so with Matthew Barrett. As Carl Trueman says in his endorsement of this book, “Matthew Barrett’s excellent book lays out in clear, accessible terms what the biblical, historical, ecumenical doctrine of God is, and why it matters.”

Barrett also includes a glossary at the back of the book for the reader to read the definition of terms that may be difficult to understand upon first reading. Barrett consistently relies upon former “giants of the Christian faith” for their orthodox views of God. He also refutes many heretical views of God throughout history by demonstrating, biblically, how they have erred.

The book is divided into twelve chapters. The first three chapters seek to answer questions such as: Can we know the essence of God, How the creature should (and should not) talk about the Creator, and why an infinite God has no limitations. The remaining nine chapters describe a particular attribute (perfection) of God. In these nine chapters the reader will gain a better understanding of: Aseity, Simplicity, Immutability, Impassibility, Eternity, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnisapience, Righteousness, Goodness, and Love, Jealousy and Glory.

Throughout each chapter, Barrett either explicitly or implicitly, demonstrates what affect this knowledge should have on us as we seek to live out our Christian lives. Too often we hear preachers and professors make, what seems to be lofty theological talk, without ever demonstrating their relevance to our lives. Barrett takes what some might believe to be abstract ideas, which may difficult to understand, and makes them applicable. I can rightly see how a correct view of God’s perfections should affect my daily living. This is encouraging, because, as he rightfully stated, “Our knowledge should lead us into worship (14).”

Although the author is not construction some new theology of God, he is bringing a fresh understanding of the God of the Bible. Barrett is careful to demonstrate from Scripture where he has derived these truths about God. Because of this book, I feel as if I can now see more clearly the perfections of God throughout every page of Scripture. This book was an encouragement to my soul. Also, this will be a book that I will quickly recommend for any who desire to know more about the God of the Bible. I will not hesitate to recommend this book to the members of my local congregation. In fact, I would readily supply our resource cabinet with copies of this book. This is a must read for all Christians.

You can buy Matthew Barrett’s book None Greater here.  You can also click here for a description of Barrett’s work. I pray that this book would be as encouraging to you as it has been for me.

Soli Deo Gloria

Josh Chambers

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