Richard Clark Reed was born in Harrison, Hamilton County, Tennessee in 1851. He was educated at King College (BA, 1873) and Union Theological Seminary, Virginia (BD, 1876). On two separate occasions, after his graduation, his alma mater honoured him – with the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and later with that of Doctor of Laws.
He began his first pastorate in 1877 at the Presbyterian Church at Charlotte Court House, Virginia, where he served for eight years. He then ministered at Franklin, Tennessee, for four years, before moving to Second Presbyterian Church at Charlotte, North Carolina (1889-1892). Another period of six years was spent as pastor of Woodland Street Church, Nashville, Tennessee, from where he was called in 1898 to be Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Polity at Columbia Theological Seminary (then at Columbia, South Carolina), in which capacity he continued until his death, peacefully in his sleep, in July 1925. In 1922 he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly (PCA), and served as Acting President of the Seminary 1924/25.
In addition to his The Gospel as Taught by Calvin, published by the Trust, he authored several other books, the most significant being: History of the Presbyterian Churches of the World and What is the Kingdom of God?