Essentially in evaluating a talk we’re looking at three things;
1. Matter: What was said?
2. Method: How was the content communicated?
3. Manner: Was it said well?
Matter: What was said? Issues of exegesis and hermeneutics
- What was the main thing or big idea that the speaker was trying to get across? (then ask the speaker what was the main thing they were trying to get across) Did they match?
- Was the main point of the talk the main point of the passage?
- Was the main point of the talk what they said it would be? (i.e. did it match their theme/aim sentence)
- Was the sermon in some sense about God? Is God the hero of the text expounded? Would the passage lead the hearer to think great thoughts about God?
- Did they so obviously skip anything that you think they were ducking the issue?
- Did anything need to be put in biblical context? How well did they do it?
- If it was an Old Testament passage did we get to Jesus as its fulfilment? Did we get to see how the OT pointed us to him in a faithful way?
- Were there additional theological points made in the talk that were NOT from the passage, or a necessary consequence of the passage? Were they justified?
- If cross-references were used were they necessary, were they helpful?
- Was there anything in the talk about the passage that you couldn’t understand?
- Did the speaker, in your judgement, misunderstand anything in the passage?
- Did they anticipate possible objections or difficulties with what the passage taught? Did they deal with those objections fairly, sympathetically and clearly?
- Did the applications follow from the main point and the text?
- Was there enough application?
- Was it too vague? Too narrow?
- Was it applied to ourselves? (and not simply to people out-there!)
- Did the talk misapply the passage?
- Was application (principle) accompanied by ‘Action’ (practical examples)?
- Did the talk address our own reluctance to apply the Bible to ourselves, how did it urge us to apply?
- Were the motivations for application the motivations of the passage?
Method: How was the content communicated
- Was it clear from the talk what the points/headings were?
- Were the main points straightforward and reasonably memorable or verbose and instantly forgettable?
- Did they show where in the text the points came from?
- Was there an obvious flow through the talk so that it was clear how the points related?
- Was there a good balance of explanation-illustration-application or did it feel too ‘light’ or ‘heavy’
- Did the illustrations actually illustrate the points being made? Extra marks for capturing the texture as well?
- Did the illustrations ‘drown out’ the talk?’ i.e. were they ‘too good’ and therefore distracting?
- Did the introduction serve the purpose of the talk?
- Was it too long, too short?
Did the introduction make you want to listen to the rest of the talk?
- Was there a conclusion? Did you know when the talk was ending?
- Did the conclusion function as a conclusion i.e. recapping or was new material introduced in the conclusion? (should not do this!)
- Was there any unnecessary jargon or unexplained terms?
- Did the talk work well for its particular audience? (e.g. Christian/non-Christian or youth group, kids talk, etc.)
- Was there any particularly helpful use of rhetorical devices:
- Posing questions to the listeners
- Testimony from own life or example of others
- Coming full-circle (finishing a talk where it started)
- Repetition of words, main points, etc.
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