Adam Clarke was born in 1762 at Moybeg in the parish of Kilcronaghan, Co. Londonderry, the son of a schoolmaster. He was appointed to his first circuit of Bradford, Wiltshire in 1782, and served as a Methodist minister in several areas of the country. He acted as President of the Wesleyan Conference in 1806, 1814 and 1822. From 1824 he was resident at Haydon Hall, near Pinner in Middlesex.
He enjoyed a very high reputation as a scholar, and produced works on a wide range of subjects, including theology, Oriental languages, and Biblical studies. In 1807 he was awarded the diploma of M.A. from Aberdeen University and in 1808 that of LL.D. His most important work was his Bible Commentary, which was published in eight volumes between 1810 and 1826.
The high regard in which he was held outside the Methodist Church, was reflected by his appointment in 1808 as editor of the new edition of Rymer's Feodora of the Public Records. He produced 2 volumes before pressure of work forced his resignation in 1818.
Clarke died of cholera in August 1832.