Not only was Robertson a man zealous for Greek, but more importantly, he was passionate about the significant difference that knowing Greek can make for those who preach and teach God’s word. Robertson delivered his inaugural address at Southern Seminary entitled “Preaching and Scholarship” on October 3, 1890. This address, though at the beginning of his teaching ministry, demonstrated his commitment to scholarship and his burden for colleges and seminaries to develop capable preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Robertson had a deep passion to equip gospel ministers whose hearts were impassioned and whose minds were enlightened. He vehemently rejected the idea that theological education was a waste of time. He averred,
If theological education will increase your power for Christ, is it not your duty to gain that added power? . . . Never say you are losing time by going to school. You are saving time, buying it up for the future and storing it away. Time used in storing power is not lost.
He also rejected the idea that the purpose of the seminary was to make scholars.The question for him was, “Does the college and seminary training tend to make better preachers?” His response:
If not, it is a failure. The German idea is to make scholars first and preachers incidentally. But ours is to make preachers, and scholars only as a means to that end. We have small need in the pulpit for men that can talk learnedly and obscurely about the tendencies of thought and the trend of philosophy, but do not know how to preach Christ and him crucified. The most essential thing to-day is not to know what German scholars think of the Bible, but to be able to tell men what the Bible says about themselves. And if our system of theological training fails to make preachers, it falls short of the object for which it was established. But if it does meet the object of its creation, it calls for hearty sympathy and support. . . . But my plea is for scholarship that helps men to preach. For after all, the great need of the world is the preaching of the gospel, not saying off a sermon, but preaching that stirs sinful hearts to repentance and godliness.