Adam Clarke was born in Ireland in 1762.
Clarke became a Methodist in 1778, and was in a succession an exhorter, local preacher, and regular preacher. His first circuit was that of Bradford, Wiltshire, to which he was appointed in 1782. He served in various places and traveled throughout Great Britain, achieving fame as a preacher, and being president of the British Conference in 1806, 1814, and 1822.
After 1805 he held an appointment in London, where he was a member of the committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society for several years, and one of the advisers of its Oriental publications. He resigned from this task in 1819, having retired four years previously, due to his impaired health, to Millbrook, Lancashire, where he resided until his return to the vicinity of London in 1823. He was also active in the service of the Wesleyan Missionary Society from its inception in 1814, making two missionary journeys in 1826 and 1828 to the Shetland Islands.
The most important of his numerous works was his Commentary on the Bible (originally published in eight volumes, 1810-26), which had a long and extensive circulation and took Clarke over four decades to produce. He also published a Biographical Dictionary (1802) and its supplement, The Biographical Miscellany (1806). His Miscellaneous Works were edited in thirteen volumes by J. Everett (1836-37).
Adam Clarke died in London on Aug. 28, 1832. He is perhaps the most famous Methodist/Wesleyan commentator to date.
Biographical text adapted from The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.