John 6:65 – “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled [granted, given] him.” (NIV 1984)
No One – Universal (absolute) negative. All inclusive, without exception.
Can – Often erroneously mistaken to mean the same as may. Can has to do with ability. No one (without exception) has the natural ability.
Come – Man, in and of Himself does not have the ability to come to Jesus. No exception.
Unless – Exceptive clause. Points to a necessary condition (prerequisite). Something that must happen first. It does not guarantee that it will happen. A sufficient condition would guarantee a result (suffices), but this verse is a only a necessary condition (not a sufficient condition).
Given, Granted, Enabled – The word itself is ambiguous. But what is clear is that it is something that God does that is a necessary condition (that must happen first).
The question is: what is the real meaning of this necessary condition?
“This is why I told you” is a repetition of John 6:44 – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (NIV 1984)
Draw – One cannot come to Jesus unless drawn by the Father. Both Calvinists and Arminians agree that this is a necessary condition. What they disagree on is what “draws” means.
• Arminian – To draw means to entice, woo, attract. Through prevenient grace (divine enabling) God must entice before a human can make a decision to come to Jesus. This is a grace that exists prior to and without reference to anything humans may have done. But in the end, the “drawing” is still resistible.
• Calvinist – To draw means to drag or coerce. Taken from other verses with same Greek word that is interpreted here as “draw.” It means to compel by irresistible superiority.
James 2:6 – Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? (NIV 1984)
Acts 16:19 – They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. (NIV 1984)
The question is: Why did translators use draw (resistible attraction) in the John 6:44 instead of drag (irresistibly compel)?
We do not know for sure. Maybe they felt it might be offensive to the reader (isn’t the Gospel offensive?). Greeks elsewhere used the word to mean draw water out of a well. Water is still subjected to an irresistible (not enticed) force, not on its own.
Thus, the question becomes: which makes more sense?
• Arminian – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me [entices] him.”
• Calvinist – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me [irresistibly compels] him.”
Notes from: Chosen by God, R.C. Sproul