How to Critique Sermons: A List of Diagnostic Questions
Editor’s note: The following is a list questions the author uses during a weekly service review. Not every question is asked of every sermon, but it is along these lines critique is expected to be given.
* * * * *
1. Critique of Doctrine
- Was there something said or implied that is contrary to the teaching of Scripture?
- Was there reductionism or lack of nuance in the presentation of a doctrine?
- Was a doctrinal point nuanced to such a degree that it contradicted the rhetorical force of the text?
2. Critique of Exegesis
- Did the preacher have a good grasp on the main point and purpose of this passage?
- Did the preacher have a good grasp on the theme of the whole book the text is in?
- Did the sermon show how this particular text contributes to theme of the book it is in?
- Was proper attention given to historical context, literary context, and genre in the interpretation of the passage?
- Did the preacher share enough context and exegesis for you to see how he arrived at the meaning of the text?
- Was there unnecessary contextual and exegetical work presented in the sermon? Was it too academic?
3. Critique of Exposition
- Was the main point of the sermon clear?
- Was the main point of the text also clearly the main point of the sermon?
- Was the main point of the sermon sufficiently developed, illustrated and explained?
- Was the sermon a well organized unity moving to a conclusion, or was it a collection of disconnected parts?
- Were there important questions left unaddressed?
- Were there unhelpful tangents or unneeded points that didn’t answer important questions from the text, help the congregation understand the text, or help the congregation apply the text?
4. Critique of Application
- Did the application flow from the exegesis of the text, showing how the truth in the text should affect our lives?
- Did the application get practical enough?
- Was the application appropriate for our congregation?
- Was there application for everyone in our congregation?
- Did the main point of application flow out of the main point of the text?
5. Critique of Gospel Presentation and Doxological Purpose
- Did the sermon show how the text contributes to the main point of Scripture?
- Did the sermon show how the text informs, supports, protects, brings context to, or illustrates the gospel?
- Was the gospel made clear in the sermon?
- Did the gospel seem tacked on to the end or unnaturally forced into the sermon?
- Were unbelievers addressed and welcomed to repent and put their trust in Jesus?
- Was the aim of the sermon clearly the worship of Jesus?
6. Critique of Presentation
- Did the introduction hook you and connect well with the main point of the sermon?
- Did the overall tone of the sermon agree with the tone of the text?
- Was there something in the mannerisms or tone of the preacher that was distracting or that made him difficult to listen to?