An Exegesis of John 6:44                                                                                      by Jack Kettler


“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.” (John 6:44)


Regarding verse 44, it can be said:


In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, verse 44, one encounters a profound and theologically rich passage that has been a subject of intense debate among scholars and theologians for centuries.


This verse, in its original Greek, reads:


Παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ μου ἐστιν ἐξελθεῖν, καὶ ἥξει πρὸς με


Which can be translated into English as:


“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”


This verse is part of Jesus's larger discourse, commonly known as the “Bread of Life Discourse,” in which he discusses the nature of salvation, the role of faith, and the relationship between the Father and the Son.


From a Reformed theological perspective, John 6:44 is often interpreted in light of the doctrine of predestination, which posits that God chose certain individuals for salvation before the world was created. This view is grounded in the belief that human beings cannot come to God on their own accord due to their fallen nature.


In John 6:44, the Greek verb “ἑλκύω” (helkúō), translated as “draws” in most English translations, is significant. The term can carry the connotation of “pulling” or “dragging,” which some Reformed theologians interpret as implying a strong, irresistible action on the part of God. This interpretation aligns with the Reformed understanding of God's sovereign grace in salvation, where God initiates and ensures the completion of the process.


The verse also emphasizes the role of the Father in the salvation process. It suggests that the Father “draws” people to Jesus, implying a divine initiative that precedes and enables human response. This aligns with the Reformed doctrine of “monergism,” which posits that salvation is entirely a work of God, with no cooperation or contribution from the human side.


Furthermore, John 6:44 is often connected with John 6:37, which states:


“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me, I will never drive away.” (John 6:37)


This verse reinforces the idea that the Father's “drawing” is a sovereign act that results in the individual coming to Jesus. Thus, the “coming” to Jesus is seen as a result of the Father's drawing, not as a condition for it.


Several supporting passages in agreement with John 6:44:


1.      Ephesians 1:5 - “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”

2.      Romans 8:29-30 - “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son... Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified.”

3.      Ephesians 1:11 - “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”

4.      Romans 11:2 - “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.”

5.      1 Peter 1:2 - “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”

6.      Ephesians 1:4 - “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

7.      Romans 8:30 - “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified.”

8.      2 Timothy 1:9 - “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

9.      Ephesians 1:11 - “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”

10.  Romans 9:11 - “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.”


In conclusion, from a Reformed theological perspective, John 6:44 is a crucial verse that underscores God's sovereign grace in salvation. It highlights the divine initiative in drawing people to Jesus and the monergistic nature of the salvation process. While this interpretation has been the subject of much debate, it remains a foundational aspect of Reformed Soteriology.


A real-world example of the above exegesis from John 6:44: 


C.S. Lewis's quote about being brought to the faith “kicking and screaming” is:


“In the Trinity Term of 1929, I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”


Lewis made this statement in his autobiography Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. He described his conversion as reluctant, feeling he was:


“dragged into the kingdom kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape.”


Whether or not one’s conversion was like Lews’ or not John Bunyan’s allegorical Holy War is relevant and instructive:


John Bunyan's The Holy War, published in 1682, is a complex and layered allegory that explores the spiritual journey of the human soul through the metaphor of a besieged city. The narrative unfolds in the town of Mansoul, which is initially under the rule of King Shaddai but is later captured by the forces of Diabolus. The story traces Mansoul's struggle under Diabolus's rule and its eventual liberation by the army of Emanuel, a figure representing Christ.


Bunyan's allegory operates on multiple levels. On the surface, it is a dramatic tale of a city's fall and redemption. However, beneath this narrative lies a deeper, more personal allegory reflecting Bunyan's spiritual journey and understanding of the Christian faith. The characters and events in the story are symbolic representations of spiritual and psychological states. For example, the town of Mansoul represents the human soul, while Diabolus and Emanuel represent the forces of evil and good, respectively.


Bunyan's use of allegory in The Holy War is sophisticated and multi-layered, allowing him to explore complex theological and psychological concepts in a narrative form. Through his characters and their experiences, Bunyan illustrates the battle between good and evil, the nature of sin and redemption, and the role of faith in the Christian life.


The above study was Groked and perfected with Grammarly AI.


“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)


Mr. Kettler is a respected author who has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife, Marea, are active Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church members. Mr. Kettler's extensive work includes 18 books defending the Reformed Faith, which are available for order online at Amazon.