John 6:44 is a much misunderstood verse in the Bible. Prominent contemporary theologians and Bible teachers love to expound this verse by means of doing a word study based upon the word “draw.”
The Greek word underlying our English translation “draw” occurs 8 times in the New Testament:
(1) John 6:44, No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(2) John 12:32, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
(3) John 18:10, Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
(4) John 21:6, And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
(5) John 21:11, Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
(6) Acts 16:19, And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
(7) Acts 21:30, And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.
(8) James 2:6, But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
Perhaps the English word drag might be a good synonym for drew in most of the above passages.
Looked at in this way, John 6:44, “except the Father draw him,” would indicate that this “drawing” is the work of God the Father, and man has no part or choice in the matter.
Such a conclusion is absolutely wrong, and directly contrary to the underlying Greek text at John 6:44.
In this case, only doing a word study leads to an absolutely false conclusion.
Such a study conducted this way is a fallacy, because it neglects to account for the underlying Greek grammar.
No Calvinist will dare to address the underlying Greek grammar behind John 6:44.
I heard Dr. R. C. Sproul expound John 6:44 at length in his program Renewing Your Mind this morning. He did a word study. Throughout his message he mentioned crucial aspects of Greek grammar, including a mention that “if” indicates a contingency, if I recall correctly, and similar matters, but though he was expounding John 6:44 in detail, he did not once address the underlying grammar of that verse.
The only publically available English translation I know of which faithfully renders the underlying grammar of John 6:44 is Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible:
John 6:44 no one is able to come unto me, if the Father who sent me may not draw him, and I will raise him up in the last day;
Notice carefully that the verb “draw” is correctly translated “may draw” by Young, because the underlying verb is in the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood indicates the presence in context of a contingency or requirement which must be met on the part of the person God “may draw.” That contingency is specified in the context. For example, John 6:45 says,
John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Jesus explains that it is the person who has heard and has learned of the Father who comes to Him. This requires receptivity on the part of the hearer and learner.
The person who truly believes on Christ continues to believe, and as a result now has everlasting life (John 5:24; John 6:47).
Do not follow false teaching about such important matters as this! When an otherwise very competent and highly respected Bible teacher and theologian like Dr. R. C. Sproul fails to account for the grammatical evidence that strikingly contradicts his Calvinistic position, he is on that point a false teacher.
To dig deeper into the truths taught in John 6:44 consult the cross references and notes for this verse shared below:
John 6:44. No man. ver. Jn 6:65. Jn 5:44. 8:43. 10:26. *Jn 12:37-40. Pr 5:22. Is 44:18-20. Je 13:23. Mt 12:34. 13:10-17. Lk 10:22. Ro 8:7, 8. 1 Cor 2:14. 2 Cor 3:5. Ep 2:8. can come. or, is able to come (Young). ver. +Jn 6:35, **Jn 6:37, **Jn 6:45, 47. %Jn 5:40. Jb 14:4. +**Is 55:3. *Je 13:23. 31:19. Mt 13:11. Lk 6:47. Ro 11:35, 36. **1 Cor 2:14. *1 Cor 4:7. 2 Cor 3:5. except. or, if (Young). FS184C, +Mt 4:9. ver. Jn 6:45, 65. *Jn 3:3-7. *Jn 10:26. Ps 10:17. Pr 16:1. Mt 11:25-27. *Jn 16:17. 18:3. Mk 16:16n. Ac 11:18. 15:11. **Ac 16:14. *2 Cor 4:6. *Ep 2:4-10. *Phil 1:29. *Col 2:12, 13. 1 Th 4:9. 2 Tim 2:10. Titus 3:3-5. James 1:18. 1 J 2:3. the Father. Jn 4:23. 5:19. Mt 16:17. Ro 11:36. Ep 1:17, 18. which hath sent me. ver. Jn 6:38. +Jn 4:34. 7:16. draw. or, may draw. Aorist tense, active voice, subjunctive mood, third person singular verb. Logically, Calvinism cannot base absolute sovereignty and absolute predestination or the doctrine of irresistible grace upon (or in the face of) the “may” of the subjunctive mood in the probable future third class condition here and in verse Jn 6:65. That would be an absolute contradiction in terms. “May” expresses contingency; the “third class condition” expresses probability, but not certainty, because of the contingency. The “third class condition” asserts that if a specified condition is met, a certain result will follow. Thus, the Calvinistic position is proven absolutely untenable according to the grammar of Scripture. The terms of the contingency are expressed in ver. Jn 6:37 and ver. Jn 6:40, and include continuing belief. Gr. ελκυση (S#1670g: Jn 12:32; 18:10; 21:6, 11; Ac 16:19; 21:30; James 2:6). ver. **Jn 6:65. Jn 4:23. *Jn 12:32. Ge 19:16. Ps 25:8. *SS 1:4. Je 31:3. Ho 2:14. 11:4. Ro 8:14. and I. ver. +Jn 6:39, 40. raise. FS8, +Ps 118:1. +**Jn 5:29. 11:25. +**Lk 14:14. +Ac 2:30. 2 Tim 1:12. at the last day. ver. +Jn 6:54n. Jn 11:24.