Liam Kelly fired Kilmarnock ahead from the penalty spot after just four minutes when James Dayton was brought down inside the box.
St Mirren pushed for an equaliser and Bell made three fantastic saves before finally conceding to Paul McGowan's penalty midway through the second half. There were late chances for Jim Goodwin and David Barron, but the Rugby Park side held out for a point.
A bumper travelling support of over 2,000 roared Kilmarnock on in the early stages and they were soon rewarded as referee Brian Colvin pointed at the spot after Barron fouled Dayton. Kelly stepped up to take the resulting kick and duly drilled the ball low beyond Craig Samson.
Marc McAusland did well to cut out Dayton's dangerous cross and Manuel Pascali's fizzing drive was deflected just wide as the visitors threatened to extend their advantage in the opening stages.
McGowan forced Bell into his first save of the match with an effort from distance, however St Mirren almost found themselves two behind when Dayton's sublime cross was met by Paul Heffernan and the striker was only denied by a wonderful stop by Samson.
The driving wind almost assisted Steven Thompson in levelling the match after Gary Teale robbed Pascali, but this time it was Bell's turn to make an excellent save - his one-handed stop preventing the ball from swerving into the top corner.
It was the hosts who made the brighter start after the break and Bell made another fantastic stop to keep out Lewis Guy's back-post header and the Scotland international was at it again as he tipped over Barron's driven shot minutes later and it seemed that it was only a matter of time before the equaliser would arrive.
With 22 minutes remaining, St Mirren were awarded a penalty of their own after Dougie Imrie was felled by Mark O'Hara, McGowan sending Bell the wrong way from the spot to level proceedings and ensure an exciting conclusion to the match.
Jim Goodwin's free-kick brought out another good save from Bell as St Mirren continued to press and Barron almost found the net from 30 yards in the final minute.