Christ Drawing, not Dragging
John 12:31-33
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.…

The words σύρω and ἐλκύω differ. In σύρειν, as in our "drag," there lies always the notion of force, e.g., the headlong course of a river; and it will follow, that where persons, and not merely things, are in question, σύρειν, will involve the notion of violence (Acts 8:3; Acts 14:19; Acts 17:6). But in ἐλκύειν this notion does not of necessity lie. It may be there (Acts 16:19; Acts 21:30; James 2:6), but not of necessity, any more than in our "draw," which we use of a mental and moral attraction, or in the Latin traho. Only by keeping in mind this difference can we vindicate from erroneous interpretation this doctrinally important passage. The word here is ἐλκύσω. But how does a crucified, and thus an exalted, Saviour draw all men unto Him? Not by force, for the will is incapable of force, but by the Divine attraction of His love. Again (John 6:44) "Father which hath sent Me draw him" (ἐλκύση ἀυτόν). Now, as many as feel bound to deny any gratia irresistibilis, which turns man into a mere machine, and by which, willing or unwilling, he is dragged to God, must at once assert that this ἐλκύση can mean no more than the potent allurements, the allective force of love, the attracting of men by the Father to the Son; compare Jeremiah 31:3 (ἔλκυσα σε), and Song of Solomon 1:3,

4. Did we find σύρειν on either of these occasions (not that I can conceive this possible), the assertors of a gratia irresistibilis, might then urge the declarations of our Lord as leaving no room for any other meaning but theirs; but not as they now stand. In agreement with all this, in ἐλκύειν, is predominantly the sense of a drawing to a certain point, in σύριεν merely of dragging after one. Thus Lucian likens a man to a fish already hooked and dragged through the water. Not seldom there will lie in συριεν the notion of this dragging being on the ground, inasmuch as that will trail upon the ground (Isaiah 3:16), which is forcibly dragged along with no will of its own: as for example, a dead body. We may compare John 21:6, 11, with ver. 8 of the same chapter, in proof of what has just been asserted. At ver. 6 and 11 ἐλκύειν is used: for there a drawing of the net to a certain point is intended: by the disciples to themselves in the ship, by Peter to himself upon the shore. But at ver. 8, ἐλκύειν gives place to συριεν, for nothing is there intended but the dragging of the net, which had been fastened to the ship, after it through the water.

(Abp. Trench.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

WEB: Now is the judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out.

Christ Drawing All
Top of Page
Top of Page