New Defender's Study Bible Notes
12:4 paradise. “Paradise” here seems to be synonymous with the “third heaven” (II Corinthians 12:2), or more likely some specific part of the third heaven. Although the word “paradise” does not occur in the Old Testament, the Septuagint translators of the Old Testament into Greek did use it to translate “the garden of Eden.” It occurs only two other times in the New Testament. Christ told the dying thief: “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Also, He told the church at Ephesus: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). This statement not only relates paradise back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9; 3:22) but also to the future New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:2,14). Although we cannot now be dogmatic, it seems that paradise (perhaps incorporating also the New Jerusalem now being prepared—John 14:2-3) is that region of the third heaven, where all the departed saints are blissfully awaiting, with Christ, the soon-coming day of His return to earth.
12:4 unspeakable words. The marvelous words which Paul heard in paradise are incapable of being communicated to mortal ears (I Corinthians 2:9). Perhaps certain aspects of them, however, were given to enable him to convey the glorious promises of the future resurrection day (e.g., I Corinthians 15:51-57; I Thessalonians 4:13-18). However, there were others he was not allowed to communicate, even if he could.