In Orthodox or religious institutions the leaders expound the word of God and the followers (believers) would simply hear and obey. The believers would never read and understand the word of God themselves.
Many naive followers believed that only the leaders would receive mysteries from God. It became a subtle practice where the believers would only follow instructions given by the leaders. Still common in the catholic tradition in the eastern part of the world, and even other religions. Most never really bothered about knowing scripture themselves.
Interestingly, you will find in the Baptist and Pentecostal churches, many who read the word of God, end up opening up a lot of independent churches. Why? They realise the power in God’s Word, sometimes led by God, other times for making money.
What happens when there exists this lack of knowledge among the followers? Blind followers are created. These followers begin to depend on the leaders for decisions in life. This gives the leaders an uncanny power over their flock. Power that can be easily misused. With power comes responsibility and accountability, if not used under obedience to God’s word, it brings division and hatred. The leaders often get blinded by the taste of such power.
We are in dark times, false Christ’s are rising, seducing spirits are at large. Our dependence needs to be only on Jesus, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we truly surrender to God’s will, and desire to grow in Christ, HE will keep us from harm. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17)
The more we do His will, we will be established, unlike children easily swayed by every word. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Ephesians 4:14)
Read the Bible to save yourself. Study the Word so you don’t get carried away by every wind of doctrine. The Word is inspiration from God, beneficial to grow, correct and walk, in righteousness.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)