How greatly I strive (hlikon agwna ecw). Literally, "how great a contest I am having." The old adjectival relative hliko (like Latin quantus) is used for age or size in N.T. only here and James 3:5 (twice, how great, how small). It is an inward contest of anxiety like the merimna for all the churches ( 2 Corinthians 11:28 ). Agwna carries on the metaphor of agwnizomeno in Colossians 1:29 . For them at Laodicea (twn en Laodikiai). Supplyuper as with uper umwn. Paul's concern extended beyond Colossae to Laodicea ( Colossians 4:16 ) and to Hierapolis ( Colossians 4:13 ), the three great cities in the Lycus Valley where Gnosticism was beginning to do harm. Laodicea is the church described as lukewarm in Revelation 3:14 . For as many as have not seen my face (osoi ouc eorakan to proswpon mou). The phrase undoubtedly includes Hierapolis ( Revelation 4:13 ), and a few late MSS. actually insert it here. Lightfoot suggests that Hierapolis had not yet been harmed by the Gnostics as much as Colossae and Laodicea. Perhaps so, but the language includes all in that whole region who have not seen Paul's face in the flesh (that is, in person, and not in picture). How precious a real picture of Paul would be to us today. The antecedent to osoi is not expressed and it would be toutwn after uper. The form eorakan (perfect active indicative of oraw instead of the usual ewrakasin has two peculiarities o in Paul's Epistles ( 1 Corinthians 9:1 ) instead of w (see John 1:18 for ewraken) and -an by analogy in place of -asin, which short form is common in the papyri. See Luke 9:36ewrakan.