Steven Taylor scored a second-half equaliser to ease the pressure on Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce.
Taylor struck after Eduardo gave the ball away cheaply
Emmanuel Adebayor put leaders Arsenal in front with a brilliant volley after just four minutes but Taylor equalised on the hour with a shot on the turn.
Geremi headed inches wide while Manuel Almunia blocked from Taylor as the home team pressed after falling behind.
Gilberto might have scored a volley for Arsenal, who would have gone six points clear at the top had they won.
It was Arsenal's game in hand on Manchester United and Chelsea and manager Arsene Wenger had highlighted the importance of extending their advantage over second-placed United.
But the Gunners, who remain unbeaten in the Premier League, failed to build on their early goal and Newcastle were worthy of their point after a match in which they played with great determination and endeavour.
The draw against the leaders will come as welcome respite for Allardyce, whose team had taken just one point from their previous five Premier League matches.
Allardyce's future has been in question in recent days, while rumours of player unrest continue to surround the club.
Yet although his team conceded early in the game the Magpies manager can have few complaints with the tenacity with which the Magpies started the match, nor the vociferous support from the home crowd.
Alan Smith slid in on Manuel Almunia while Joey Barton cleaned out Gilberto as the Magpies harried and harassed their opponents to try to nullify Arsenal's smooth passing play.
Newcastle trailed after Adebayor superbly controlled Emmanuel Eboue's cross with his chest before smashing the ball into the top corner of Shay Given's goal.
The goal came after Charles N'Zogbia gave away possession close to his own goal - but his team almost equalised immediately through Geremi's header from James Milner's cross.
And by the break Almunia had made a decent save from Geremi's low free-kick and brilliantly cleared Taylor's header from a corner.
In the first-half the home team needlessly gave away possession far too often against a team of Arsenal's quality, while right-back Habib Beye repeatedly drifted too far inside and offered too much space to Tomas Rosicky.
Adebayor (left) opened the scoring following Eboue's cross
Adebayor closed in on goal after an Arsenal break but a heavy touch saw the chance wasted, while a Rosicky corner fell to Gilberto at the far post but he volleyed wide.
But Newcastle continued to press and their 'up and at 'em' approach continued after the resumption, with N'Zogbia almost atoning for his earlier error with a vicious strike that Almunia saved.
And the home team's endeavour was rewarded when Taylor's low strike went in off the post.
Eduardo, as with Newcastle's N'Zogbia earlier in the match, gave the ball away in a dangerous position and, following Smith's flick on and Obafemi Martins step-over from Beye's cross, Taylor finished with his right foot.
Arsenal responded with the introduction of Nicklas Bendtner for Eduardo but the Gunners struggled to recapture the incisiveness that characterised their first-half play.
They enjoyed a period of pressure late in the contest but Newcastle could have taken all three points, with Mark Viduka shooting over and Eboue making a timely block to thwart Taylor.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger:
"I must concede that overall Newcastle deserved a point. They battled hard and fought for every ball.
"We had a great spirit but we did not create enough chances going forward. My team gave everything but we are a little bit frustrated.
"Our fluency was not at our best but still we got a point out of a very difficult games."
Newcastle: Given, Beye, Taylor, Rozehnal, N'Zogbia, Milner, Barton, Butt, Geremi (Viduka 77), Martins, Smith.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Jose Enrique, Emre, Edgar.
Booked: Barton, Given, Beye.
Goals: Taylor 60.
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue, Diarra, Silva, Rosicky, Adebayor, Eduardo (Bendtner 68).
Subs Not Used: Lehmann, Denilson, Song Billong, Walcott.
Booked: Diarra, Sagna.
Goals: Adebayor 4.
Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).