By Nana Yaw Aidoo

Matthew Fontaine Maury, the seventh child of Richard Maury and Diane Minor Maury was born on January 14, 1806, near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Having received some education at Harpeth Academy and with the desire to learn all about the sea, Matthew Maury, at the age of 19, followed his eldest brother into the U.S. Navy, where he began his career as a shipman. During this period, in 1834, Matthew married Ann Herndon, a distant cousin and they both settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Five years into his marriage, Matthew was involved in a stagecoach accident, after visiting with his parents in Tennessee, in which he suffered a fractured femur. This accident left him permanently lame, thus bringing his hopes for a life at sea to an abrupt end. (; What would transpire subsequent to this experience in the life of this man, would testify to the inspiration and inerrancy of God’s Holy Word (2 Tim.3:16-17).

In a book on the life of Matthew Fontaine Maury which was compiled by his daughter, it is stated that;
Matthew’s father was very exact in the religious training of his family, now numbering five sons and four daughters…He would assemble them night and morning to read the Psalter for the day, verse and verse about; and in this way, so familiar did this barefooted boy [M. F. Maury] become with the Psalms of David, that in after life he could cite a quotation, and give chapter and verse, as if he had the Bible open before him… (as cited in Wikipedia).

Matthew Maury’s hopes for a life at sea having been dashed, “he devoted his time to the study of naval meteorology, navigation, charting the winds and currents, seeking the “Paths of the Seas” mentioned in Psalms 8:8 as: “The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” (Wikipedia). His knowledge of the Psalms as a result of his domestic training, kept at the fore of his mind “the paths of the seas,” and created in him an intense desire to find these paths. Prior to this time, no one knew that the sea had paths. Seamen traversed the ocean “blindfolded” as one man by name Captain Phinney who was captain of a ship called Gertrude, confessed to Matthew in a personal letter to him ( However, Matthew Maury, a man who had no doubts about the Bible’s absolute inerrancy, vowed to himself that if the Bible says there are paths in the sea, then there are paths and so he would find them.

To this end, over the next thirty-five years, Matthew Maury “…studied old ships’ logs. From these he compiled charts of ocean-wind and sea currents. To study the speed and direction of the ocean currents Maury set adrift weighted bottles known as ‘drift bottles.’ These floated slightly below the surface of the water, and thus were not affected by wind. Instructions were sealed in each bottle directing anyone who found one washed ashore to return it. From the location and date on which the bottles were found, Maury was able to develop his charts of the ocean currents – the ‘paths’ of the seas – which greatly aided the science of marine navigation.” (

With the information gathered from his naval experiments, Matthew Maury published the first popular text book on marine science, “Physical Geography of the Sea Vol.1” in 1855 and after a life that was blighted with naval politics, he died on February 1, 1873, having achieved his aim of finding the “paths of the sea,” spoken of by the Psalmist.

Matthew Maury believed in the Bible. His textbook, “Physical Geography of the Sea,” apparently contained quotations from the Bible like Job 28:25 ( When some scientists pointed fingers at him for so doing, He courageously responded in a speech at the University of East Tennessee, thirteen years before his death, with these words;
I have been blamed by men of science, both in this country and in England, for quoting the Bible in confirmation of the doctrines of physical geography. The Bible, they say, was not written for scientific purposes, and is therefore of no authority in matters of science.
I beg pardon! The Bible is authority for everything it touches.
…The Bible is true and science is true, and therefore each, if truly read, but proves the truth of the other. The agents in the physical economy of our planet are ministers of Him who made both it and the Bible…
They are both true; and when your men of science, with vain and hasty conceit, announce the discovery of disagreement between them, rely upon it, the fault is not with the witness of His records, but with the worm who essays to interpret evidence which he does not understand. (as cited in

This great scientist and believer puts to shame all pseudo-scientists and all modernists, who profess faith in the Bible, yet all the while working to destroy confidence in it.

Matthew Fontaine Maury was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans and a monument which was erected in his honor reads;
Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas, the genius who first snatched from the oceans and atmosphere the secret of their laws. His inspiration, Holy Writ, Psalm 8:8; Ecclesiastes 1:6.

The work and discovery of this great scientist shows the scientific foreknowledge that the writers of the Bible had, which they had no business having. The question we ought to be asking ourselves is this. How did David, a shepherd boy turned king, in his day and age, know that the seas had paths? The obvious answer is that he was told this fact by none other than the Creator of the Seas. An even more serious question is, are you willing to obey this Creator?


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