For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
Slave in the old and New Testament at times referred to a worker. A hired hand.
Paul refers to himself as a slave to God and Christ Jesus and his works in the ministry.
Slavery in the Bible was different from American slavery.
1) Sometimes it functioned as punishment for a crime, resolve monetary debt or a place to put POW's of conquered peoples.
2) One thing I never hear mentioned is that God allowed slavery as a picture of people bound by sin. Addictions and other effects of sin perform an important function of illustrating how serious the bondage of sin is. It might be the reason God allowed so much of it, even in Isreal.
Ben, slavery in the Old Testament was not always a reference to a "hired hand." The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt just as Africans were slaves in the USA. They were not "paid" with money, the were given basic necessities only. They were beaten, tortured and killed at the whim of their owner, Pharaoh. Deuteronomy 15:12-15 only applies to Hebrew slaves of Hebrew owners.
Paul's reference to being a "slave" to God was to show his unwavering devotion and respect. Those attributes expected of a slave to their owner. A good illustration for those who couldn't understand unwavering faith in Jesus.
John, while it is true that form of slavery also existed, that form of slavery was condemned in I Tim 1:10. I doubt Paul was meaning to compare God to a kidnapping slaver or to claim that his own service was involuntary. It is more likely he was referencing the Jewish practice of bond-slaves.
Jennifer, I have no concrete evidence of what "enslavers" actually means in 1 Tim 1:10. Could it mean anyone who has slaves? Could it be those who enslave Jews? Does it apply to conquered peoples?
Freedom under the Law for slaves only applied to Jews in bondage by other Jews. Nothing is mentioned about freedom for anyone else.
Paul was speaking of being a slave (a negative word) to God as a positive; or, possibly, an attitude not an actuality. All believers are slaves to God and Jesus Christ. Jesus is not a slave owner, but Jesus wants every part of our being, even our thoughts; something slave owners couldn't control.
We must submit our entire selves to be considered a slave of God.